China: Contemporary Art From the People's Republic of China

(Only a portion of our Chinese art collection is shown on our site, or discussed below. Contact us to see more.)

The Artists:

Chinese painters and printmakers from The People's Republic of China created the work in the in this collection in the 1970's-1980's. This art was brought to the United States by art dealers, during that period, in the hopes of introducing the Western art world to contemporary Chinese art.

In 1978 The Brooklyn Museum of Art in New York opened an exhibition of 80 paintings made in the early 1970's by peasant workers in Hushsien county Shensi province, which traveled to San Francisco, Chicago, Los Angeles and Houston. (See the discussion below at CH2 Cultivating Medicinal Herbs.) In 1980 the New England Center for Contemporary Art launched a show, including Hushsien art and other original Chinese art dedicated to presenting a broad picture of Chinese contemporary art from the People's Republic of China. The premise of these shows, and the underlying current in the art created was China's history and culture, a culture which stretches back with unbroken continuity for more than four thousand years.

Dominant in the art of this period is a reverence for tradition, and an appreciation for skill in summarizing it, visually, spiritually, and with penetrating clarity. Painting, drawing and printmaking, sustain a pre-eminent importance in Chinese culture. Art images are filled with traditional references and expressions of Chinese philosophy, literature, calligraphy and other arts. The art displayed below blends these traditional references with images and style assimilated from foreign influences. Traditional expression is blended with new aesthetic values. This art is regenerated in theme and style, reflects the changed spirit of the times, and at the same time shows a uniquely national character.

The Art:

Chinese painting while enjoying its own place among leading graphic arts of the world differs widely from Western painting aesthetically, and with regard to the media and tools employed to create it. Chinese artists studying the art of ancient Chinese techniques and art of recent traditions of the West generally remained loyal to cultural influences. Characteristics of aesthetic conception and methods of composition, salient features of art, are entwined with philosophical thinking.

These Chinese artists make art that is not only modeled after nature, but also emphasizes, as Chinese art has since very early days, a simultaneous grasp of physical characteristics and the inner essence of the subject. Personality and inner feelings are expressed in portrayals of human figures. Form and animated movement is combined in portrayals of animals and flowers. And, landscape paintings convey different features of the season and climate, and at the same time convey the concept that reality permeates all natural phenomena.

An important feature of Chinese painting is its role as an object of contemplation. A viewer is expected to "contemplates a landscape" when examining it and thereby "enter" the picture and progress through various stages of the scenery until reaching a vantage point such as a towering peak or isolated cliff. It is from this site that the panorama of nature can be seen and studied, both visually and spiritually. This creates an opportunity to become involved with underlying forces of nature.

Another distinctive feature of Chinese painting and graphics is color and the traditional use of black ink. Black ink is almost never separated from other colors because it is deemed capable of an immense range of tone, which in fact substitutes color. Ink and colors are often used in combination, such as in the art of flower and fruit paintings where bold colors are used to present the flower, and ink strokes are used to represent leaves and to create a vividness. A difficult painting technique is painting with a brush that has been simultaneously dipped in ink and color to create a harmonious combination of the two media.

The combined use of an inscription and seal, the invention of ancient scholar painters, is a distinguishing characteristic of Chinese painting. Artist's combine their signature with seals engraved with a favorite verse or motto. Seals, generally of bright cinnabar, give a finishing touch to paintings and prints and add an extended dimension to the message of the artwork. Contemporary artists enrich this feature with new content relating to contemporary philosophy, literature, aesthetics, poetry, and calligraphy.

See LeBaDang: Vietnam artist.

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CH240

Shui Yi. Kweilin Mountains in Mist Edition of 100. Watercolor on silk. The paper size is 12 1/2" x 18 1/2" . This 1978 watercolor was acquired in 1981. This artwork is authenticated by the artist's seal. Kwelin, a city in the northeaster part of south China's Kwangsi Chuang autonomous region, is a city with scenery that has captivated the imagination of travelers, artists, and poets for centuries. Kweilin, typical of China's karst lands, owes its fame to its peculiar topography which can be traced over 300 million years to the period when the region was a sea bed with thick overlay of limestone. Through crustal movement, the sea bed thrust up, and the layers of limestone, eroded by acidic water and wind, formed an expanse of land marked by majestic hills and caverns in fantastic shapes. The area is made up of unusually shaped limestone hills, underground hills, underground rivers, and numerous caves. This original hand painted landscape is mounted with a silk brocade border. The artwork, margins and art surface, is in pristine condition. Close-Up

$500.

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CH752

Yi Shui-yun. Man with Horse. Watercolor. The paper size is 14" x 20". This original watercolor is one of a pair of watercolors, the partner watercolor being the image displayed directly below, Two Riders on Horseback and Two Men. Painted during summer, both pieces were inspired by the old city in which they were painted. The pair was acquired in 1981. The watercolor is authenticated by the artist's seal. Handsomely executed in contemporary color this work illustrates ancient life in China during the Sung or Ming Dynasty. Figures armed with bow's are apparently preparing for battle, hunt, or sport. Images are presented in brilliant gouache with a handsome use of white for the opaque color. The painting, a one of a kind original, is mounted with a silk brocade border. The artwork, margins and art surface is in pristine condition. Close-Up | Closer

$650.

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CH241

Yi Shui-yun. Two Riders on Horseback and Two Men. Watercolor. The paper size is 14" x 20". This original watercolor is one of a pair of watercolors, the partner watercolor being the image displayed directly above, Man with a Horse. Painted during summer, both pieces were inspired by the old city in which they were painted. The pair was acquired in 1981. The watercolor is authenticated by the artist's seal. Handsomely executed in contemporary color this work illustrates ancient life in China during the Sung or Ming Dynasty. Figures armed with bow's are apparently preparing for battle, hunt, or sport. Images are presented in brilliant gouache with a handsome use of white for the opaque color. The painting, a one of a kind original, is mounted with a silk brocade border. The artwork, margins and art surface is in pristine condition. Close-Up | Closer

$650.

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CH246

Yu. Landscape of Beauty with Lake, Mountain, and Sails. Watercolor. The paper size is 16" x 27". This watercolor painted during a new moon during in or around 1978, was acquired in 1981. This original watercolor is authenticated by the artist's seal. In this painting the artist uses a series of planes receding into the distance which nicely combines Chinese traditional spatial presentation with more recent art such as the space concepts used by Cezanne. The handling of space over all is redolent of a land-space tradition which is centuries old. The work is painted with the limited pallette common in much ancient Chinese art. The suggestion of figures off in the distance is a traditional handling of the figure in a landscape. Although man is possessed of intellect, the figure is a minor element compared to the infinite world of nature where a countryside of towering surreal mountains and water ask for awe and contemplation. The spirit and the delicate painting technique of this lovely painting is thoroughly Chinese. This original hand painted landscape is mounted with a silk brocade border. The artwork, margins and art surface, is in pristine condition. Close-Up

$650.

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CH 239

Zheng Ging. Peony. Watercolor on silk. The paper size is 10" x 15". This watercolor was acquired in 1981 and is authenticated by the artist's seal. This lovely delicate watercolor painting on silk is reminiscent of the art of ancient Chinese masters, in which watercolor on silk and similar motifs and design express images in nature. The style has remained fresh for centuries. The calligraphy explains that the flowers in this picture are from a famous court yard park in a town called Suzhou, which is near Shanghai. The translation continues explaining the flower has been in this park for 400 years. This painting is mounted with a silk brocade border. The artwork, margins and art surface, is in pristine condition. Close-Up | Closer

This painting is one of a triptych. White Blossoms CH748 and, Purple Blossoms CH747, the other two images in the triptych, are discussed below.

$385.

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CH 748

(This piece is not shown on our site at this time, but is available. Contact us if you would like to see it. )

Zheng Ging. White Blossoms. Watercolor. The paper size is 10" x 15". This watercolor was acquired in 1981 and is authenticated by the artist's seal. This lovely delicate watercolor painting on silk is reminiscent of the art of ancient Chinese masters, in which watercolor on silk and similar motifs and design express images in nature. The style has remained fresh for centuries. The calligraphy explains that the flowers in this picture are from a famous court yard park in a town called Suzhou, which is near Shanghai. The translation continues explaining the flower has been in this park for 400 years. This painting is mounted with a silk brocade border. The artwork, margins and art surface, is in pristine condition. Close-Up

This painting is one of a triptych. Peony CH239 and, Purple Blossoms CH747, the other two images discussed directly above and below.

$385.

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CH 747

(This piece is not shown on our site at this time, but is available. Contact us if you would like to see it. )

Zheng Ging. Purple Blossoms. Watercolor. The paper size is 10" x 15". This watercolor was acquired in 1981 and is authenticated by the artist's seal. This lovely delicate watercolor painting on silk is reminiscent of the art of ancient Chinese masters, in which watercolor on silk and similar motifs and design express images in nature. The style has remained fresh for centuries. The calligraphy explains that the flowers in this picture are from a famous court yard park in a town called Suzhou, which is near Shanghai. The translation continues explaining the flower has been in this park for 400 years. This painting is mounted with a silk brocade border. The artwork, margins and art surface, is in pristine condition. Close-Up

This painting is one of a triptych. Contact us to see Peony CH239 and, White Blossoms CH748, the other two images discussed directly above.

$385.

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CH 243

(This piece is not shown on our site at this time, but is available. Contact us if you would like to see it. )

Liu Jin-feng. Grazing Horses. Painted after brick tomb painting from a collection from ancient tombs of the period 618-960 AD, between the Han and Tang dynasties. The paper size is 12 " x 20 ". The watercolor was acquired in 1981. This original watercolor, painted by a female artist and authenticated by the artist's red seal is mounted with a silk brocade border. This painting is a perfect pair to Musicians, discussed directly below. The artwork, margins and art surface, is in pristine condition. Close-Up

About Ancient Tomb Brick Paintings

China's ancient mural painting is noted for its long history, rich content and unique style. It is a crystallization of the wisdom and devotion of Chinese painters through the ages. Six tombs of the Wei and Chin periods (ca. AD 220-316) located in the Gobi Desert and excavated in 1972-73 uncovered a collection of brilliantly colored paintings in the interior brick walls. These paintings are unsurpassed by any other known tomb wall paintings, in both quantity and the richness of their content. These and those above which are representations from Hang - Tang periods (ca. 618-960), present an intimate glimpse of life in China during ancient time.

The paintings are lively, based upon careful observation, and reveal details of dress, habit and personalities. The brush strokes, free and bold - splashes of color - mainly ochre and reds, express warmth and movement. This style is simple and unpretentious and communicates the full, rich flavor of ancient China. The discovery of these extremely rare paintings gives important information to Chinese historians and is a thrilling source of visual pleasure for collectors.

$250.

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CH 244

(This piece is not shown on our site at this time, but is available. Contact us if you would like to see it. )

Bao. Musicians with Pee Pah and Flute. Painted after brick tomb painting from a collection from ancient tombs of the period 618-960 AD, between the Han and Tang dynasties. The paper size is 12 " x 20 ". The watercolor was acquired in 1981. This original watercolor, painted by a male artist and authenticated by the artist's red seal is mounted with a silk brocade border. This painting is a perfect pair to Grazing Horses, discussed directly above. The artwork, margins and art surface, is in pristine condition. Close-Up | Closer

About Ancient Tomb Brick Paintings

China's ancient mural painting is noted for its long history, rich content and unique style. It is a crystallization of the wisdom and devotion of Chinese painters through the ages. Six tombs of the Wei and Chin periods (ca. AD 220-316) located in the Gobi Desert and excavated in 1972-73 uncovered a collection of brilliantly colored paintings in the interior brick walls. These paintings are unsurpassed by any other known tomb wall paintings, in both quantity and the richness of their content. These and those above which are representations from Hang - Tang periods (ca.618-960), present an intimate glimpse of life in China during ancient time.

The paintings are lively, based upon careful observation, and reveal details of dress, habit and personalities. The brush strokes, free and bold - splashes of color - mainly ochre and reds, express warmth and movement. This style is simple and unpretentious and communicates the full, rich flavor of ancient China. The discovery of these extremely rare paintings gives important information to Chinese historians and is a thrilling source of visual pleasure for collectors.

$250.

Click to Enlarge

CH2

(This piece is not shown on our site at this time, but is available. Contact us if you would like to see it. )

Zhejiang printmaker, after a painting by Bai Xu-hao. Cultivating Medicinal Herbs. Limited Edition Woodblock Print from Huhsien Country. The paper size is 20" x 27". This original 1983 woodblock print is authenticated on the verso (back of the paper) with script and the name of the artist. The art was acquired in 1983. This woodblock print was made by an art scholar replicating the imagery and style of Bai Xu-hao of Hu County, in China's Shensi Province. This art is that of the peasant painters of Husien Country who in 1958 first showed pictures, such as these. Bright color and bold design are the trademark of this art. The artwork, margins and art surface, is in pristine condition. Close-Up

About Woodblock Prints from Hushsien Country:

In 1958, untrained farmers began to paint in China with no sense of obligation to the aristocratic art of China's past. They made pictures of their daily lives, with bright color and bold design. Their efforts were received enthusiastically when more than 2,1000,000. people saw the first major exhibition of the work in Peking in 1973, and again in France at the 1974 Paris Biennial.

The public applauded the new, daring and unofficial style of the paintings. Subsequently exhibitions were held at museums in London, Stockholm, and Toronto. Later they were shown more widely in venues in Europe, United States, and Australia. Some of these pieces are propagandistic, predictable examples of the Socialist Realist school of art. May are fanciful abstractions of nature's bounty, their intense colors reminiscent of the Fauves. Most of the art deals with one subject - work. The woodblock painting displayed above is one of the first made from the Husien paintings. The vitality and power of the Husien painting carries beautifully in translation from painting to woodblock medium. The trademark flat color and design of the paintings is perfectly suited to this medium. Contact us to see this artwork.

$350.


See LeBaDang: Vietnam artist.





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