Metropolitan Museum of Art opens retrospective of works by Fu Baoshi

The Metropolitan Museum of Art will presents a retrospective of works by Fu Baoshi, one of the most renowned modern artists in China, beginning January 21, 2012.

Drawn primarily from the preeminent holdings of China’s Nanjing Museum, Chinese Art in an Age of Revolution: Fu Baoshi (1904-1965) will showcase the artist’s 40-year career with some 70 paintings and 20 seals that have never been shown outside Asia. These works will chronicle Fu’s stylistic evolution from his student days in China and Japan to his life in the wartime capital in Sichuan, and through his career as one of the favorite artists of Chairman Mao. The exhibition, augmented by superb works from a private New York collection, offers the most comprehensive treatment of the artist’s oeuvre ever presented in the West. A notable highlight will be the inclusion of a draft of Fu’s most famous commission—the vast landscape panorama he created in 1959 for the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China.

The exhibition was organized by The Metropolitan Museum of Art with the Cleveland Museum of Art and the Nanjing Museum.

Fu Baoshi, Yan’an, Dated 1964. Horizontal scroll; ink and color on paper, 30 13/16 x 42 1/16 in. (78.2 x 106.8 cm). Nanjing Museum

Perhaps the most original figure painter and landscapist of China’s modern period, Fu Baoshi created indelible images celebrating his homeland’s cultural heritage while living through one of the most devastating periods in Chinese history. He was eight years old in 1912 when China’s last imperial dynasty was overthrown and the Chinese Republic was established. He subsequently witnessed the divisive warlord era and Communist rebellion of the 1920s, the Japanese invasion and occupation of eastern China from 1937 to 1945, and the Communist Revolution and establishment of the People’s Republic of China in 1949. Over the last 15 years of his life, his art reflected China’s political transformation under Mao Zedong. Throughout his career, however, Fu remained one of China’s great individualist masters. –

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