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WANG SHIMIN (1592-1680)

Autumn Landscape after Huang Gongwang (1269-1354)

Hanging scroll, ink and color on paper, 54½ x 28in. (138.4 x 71.1cm.)

Inscribed and signed: "Copy after the brushwork of Zijiu (Huang Gongwang), Wang Shimin"

Dated a summer day of xinchou year (1661)

Two seals of the artist: Wang Yin Shi Min, Yan Ke

Inscription on mounting by Wu Hufan (1894-1968), signed: "Seventy year old Wu Hufan on a winter day in jiashen year (1944) wrote this for the collection of Mr. Binpu" with one seal: Qian An

Lot Essay

Wang Shimin was born into one of the most distinguished families in the South. After the death of his father, who attained high government office before his early death, Wang Shimin was raised by his grandfather, Wang Xijue (1534-1611), who had served as grand secretary of the Wanli emperor (r. 1573-1621). The boy was tutored by the great painter, calligrapher and theoritician, Dong Qichang (1555-1636) and studied classical masterpieces in his grandfather's and later his own painting collection. As an adult Wang Shimin was appointed to the Seal Office, where he eventually became Chief Minister. After his early retirement from public office, Wang renewed his relationship with Dong Qichang and spent much of his time painting, collecting and patronizing young artists, until financial constraints forced him to disperse his collection.

Following in the classical style of landscape painting, Wang Shimin emulated his teacher Dong Qichang and the Yuan master Huang Gongwang (1269-1354), among others. This painting is an example of a category advocated by Dong Qichang. Unlike linmo paintings, which essentially were copies of earlier works, this painting, as identified in Wang Shimin's inscription, is a fang painting. Such works sought to convey the spiritual essence of a predecessor's style, frequently by refering to several of his paintings in one new composition. Visual faithfulness to the older work was not emphasized.

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