National Palace Museum Presents Landscape Reunited: Huang Gongwang and “Dwelling in the Fuchun Mountains”

Landscape Reunited: Huang Gongwang and “Dwelling in the Fuchun Mountains” is a major special exhibitionat the National Palace Museum from June 2 to September 5 of this year in Galleries 210 and 212 of its Main Exhibition Building.

The Museum’s own precious “Dwelling in the Fuchun Mountains (Master Wuyong Version)” will be exhibited in the same display case as “The Remaining Mountain” (on loan from the Zhejiang Provincial Museum and originally the first part of the same scroll), recreating the original appearance of this famous masterpiece in the annals of Chinese painting. “Dwelling in the Fuchun Mountains,” a handscroll representing Huang Gongwang’s (1269-1354) magnum opus and done in his late years, is in a style that traces back to the Dong Yuan and Juran manner of the Five Dynasties period and more recently to Huang’s famous contemporary, Zhao Mengfu. It reflects the development of infusing calligraphic techniques into painting and the spirit of literati art with an emphasis on expressing ideas and freehand brushwork to create a new realm of monochrome ink painting. It also came to influence landscape painting of the Ming and Qing dynasties, having crucial value for drawing from the past and inspiring future generations in the tradition of Chinese literati painting.

This special exhibition will be divided into two periods. The first, which extends from June 2 to July 31, features not only the simultaneous display of “Dwelling in the Fuchun Mountains” and “The Remaining Mountain,” it also includes such sections as “Huang Gongwang’s Treasures of Painting and Calligraphy,” “Copies and Imitations of ‘Dwelling in the Fuchun Mountains,'” and “Huang Gongwang’s Heritage and Associations.” The second part of the exhibit will run from August 2 to September 5 and consist of the final two sections: “Huang Gongwang’s Influence in the Ming and Qing Dynasties” and “Huang Gongwang’s Attributed Works.” Together, the rotations will display 70 precious examples of painting and calligraphy from the National Palace Museum collection as well as 13 important works on loan from the Zhejiang Provincial Museum, Palace Museum in Beijing, National Museum of China, Shanghai Museum, Nanjing Museum, and Yunnan Provincial Museum on the mainland as well as from a Taipei private collector. Brought together under one roof, they present a complete overview of Huang Gongwang’s art and his influence, offering audiences a deeper understanding of the spirit behind literati painting inspired by Huang and his “Dwelling in the Fuchun Mountains.”

For this special exhibition by the National Palace Museum, the Quanta Culture and Education Foundation has generously served as a third-party agent to contractual negotiations while Phoenix TV, Delta Electronics, Franz Collection, and Artkey have all provided substantial sponsorship. To complement such a major exhibition, the Museum is not only planning a lecture seminar, parent-children activities, and Facebook Fans Page, it has also specially commissioned the services of “Blue Phoenix New Media Arts,” which created the theater-in-the-round for the Pavilion of Dreams at the Taipei International Flora Expo, to develop a special media arts exhibition. On display in Galleries 105 and 107 at the Museum’s Main Exhibition Building from June 8 to September 5, it is inspired by Huang Gongwang’s painting treatise, Secrets of Depicting Landscapes. Using 3D animation to recreate Huang Gongwang’s artistic process, it helps audiences to appreciate the art exhibit even more while substantially fulfilling the Museum’s goal of “Forming new vitality for the collection, creating new value for the NPM,” also raising the standard of innovation in museum exhibit interpretation.

“Dwelling in the Fuchun Mountains” was done for Huang Gongwang’s Taoist friend, Master Zheng Wuyong. Begun in 1347, it was completed in 1350 when Huang had reached the age of 82 by Chinese reckoning. After passing through collections for 300 years, it was so highly cherished by the collector Wu Hongyu that on his deathbed he consigned it along with other treasured works (such as Tang Yin’s “Lofty Scholars,” also on display in this exhibit) to the flames. Fortunately, Huang Gongwang’s masterpiece was saved by a family member, but not after suffering damage that required it to be separated into two scrolls. The first part is known as “The Remaining Mountain.” Being 51.4 centimeters long and representing about 7 percent of the original, it is now an important part of the Zhejiang Provincial Museum collection. The latter part, 636.9 centimeters in length and roughly 86 percent of the original, entered the imperial collection of the Qing dynasty in 1746 and now is a precious work at the National Palace Museum with the status of a national treasure. For more than 360 years, these two sections of the original have never been displayed together. With the Zhejiang Provincial Museum agreeing to lend “The Remaining Mountain” to Taiwan, these two treasures can be exhibited side-by-side to recreate as nearly as possible the original appearance of “Dwelling in the Fuchun Mountains,” making this one of the most important events in Chinese art over the past few centuries.

Huang Gongwang (style name Zijiu, sobriquet Dachi) was born in 1269 during the late Southern Song in Changshu, Jiangsu. Widely studied in traditional subjects and blessed with many talents, in his youth he came to serve as a clerk handling documents in the Jiang-Zhe Branch Secretariat and by his middle years was even recommended for service in the capital. However, he became implicated in a case and was sentenced to prison. After being released, he abandoned further thought of officialdom and returned home, becoming a Taoist by profession and beginning to develop his art of painting around the age of 50. At that time he often traveled around Suzhou, Hangzhou, Songjiang, and Fuchun, taking in the sights from his travels and transforming them into landscapes of the mind to create such paintings as “Dwelling in the Fuchun Mountains” that would have a major impact on later generations.

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