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FU BAOSHI (1904-1965)
FROM A EUROPEAN PRIVATE COLLECTION
FU BAOSHI (1904-1965)

Landscape Inspired by Shitao’s Poem

Details
FU BAOSHI (1904-1965)
Landscape Inspired by Shitaos Poem
Hanging scroll, ink and colour on paper
137.5 x 40 cm. (54 1/8 x 15 ¾ in.)
Inscribed and signed, with two seals of the artist
Further inscribed and signed by Pan Gongzhan (1894-1975), with one seal
Dated winter, renwu year (1942)
Post Lot Text
While Fu Baoshi did not date Landscape after Shitao, according to Pan Gongzhan’s (1895–1975) 1942 inscription and judging from the stylistic features of his painting and calligraphy, it is an exceptionally fine work by the master from the 1940s. During this critical period in Fu Baoshi’s career, he explored the different possibilities of Chinese painting, transforming from his earlier days of adhering to the traditional techniques and styles to actively seeking changes.
Before his relocation to Chongqing at the begining of the Sino-Japanese War, where he changed his focus to artistic creation, Fu Baoshi used to concentrate on art historical studies and teaching, and seal carving. In all of these pursuits, he maintained a deep interest in and reverence for the renowned master Shitao of the late-Ming and early-Qing, to whom he has referred as a “grieving and upright artist” and whose life experience and poetic and artistic philosophy have greatly influenced him.
The couplet Fu Baoshi inscribes on Landscape after Shitao is a direct quotation from one of Shitao’s poetic inscriptions on a painting from an album: “After the rain at sunset, the clouds are pulling the greenery; at the end of the day, one cultivates one’s temperament by opening a book.” Unlike Shitao, Fu Baoshi’s interpretation of this couplet is not limited to the small-size album leaf, as he devotes the top two-thirds of the nearly 4-foot composition to a myriad of mountain tops and tall trees, interspersed among them are misty atmosphere and fog as if a shower has just passed. The bottom third presents the main focus: a reclusive scholar holds a book inside the lakeside pavilion but looks out at the lake. The distraction is an approaching skiff, probably carrying a visiting friend. Except for the shape of the mountains and trees, where the outline is used to delineate the objects, Fu Baoshi does not outline most of the motifs and chooses to use textural strokes to model the forms, distances, and volumes instead—a major characteristic of his landscapes of the early 1940s.
The colophon writer, Pan Gongzhan, was a native of Wuxing of the Zhejiang province and was active in politics and literary circles. He has held positions on the martial committee and the communications department of the Republic of China government and has served as a chief commentator of the newspaper Central News Daily.

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Carmen Shek Cerne (石嘉雯)
Carmen Shek Cerne (石嘉雯)

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