41 Installation view of “Ingenious and Expressive - Guan Liang Painting Art Exhibition”

Jointly hosted by China Artists Association, Beijing Artists Association, China Art Museum, Shanghai Institute of Chinese Painting, Beijing Fine Art Academy, 20th Century Chinese Art Masters Series: “Ingenious and Expressive–Guan Liang Painting Art Exhibition” opened on the first and second floors of the art museum of Beijing Fine Art Academy on April 10, 2015. It is the second solo show by the master Guan Liang who pioneered the theme of Chinese opera, following his first solo show held in Beijing in 1956. The exhibition brings together the early explorative works of Chinese opera figure painting created by Guan Liang in the 1930s and the 1940s, the personalized and unique works in the 1950s and 1960s, and the mature and sophisticated ones of the 1970s and 1980s. It is rare that the exhibition borrows Guan Liang’s work of landscape, still life and sketches, which have hardly been seen by the public, as well as the work themed on revolutionary model theater, it offers a valuable opportunity for the public to understand that Guan Liang gradually developed his art. The exhibition continues to May 9, 2015.

He had a great deal of friends in the art circles including the outstanding masters Qi Baishi, Guo Moruo, Li Keran, Ni Yide, Gai Jiaotian. They mutually guided and supported each other in art, learning from each other in the play and painting, traveling and painting together as well as sharing their ideals. In order to render a variety of explorations by Guan Liang and his friends on the road of art, the exhibition combines “The Memoir by Guan Liang” to showcase his works, the major of which makes a debut in this exhibition and will be seen by the public. In addition, the exhibition juxtaposes and showcases the sketches by Guan Liang and Li Keran as a comparison, so that the audiences clearly realize the different artistic languages by the two artists. It showcases the combination of stories and works in the exhibition halls so that the audience is able to recall that era, taste the life and paintings of Guan Liang.

Guan Liang was the representative of the artists who earlier had studied in foreign countries, explored how to perform Chinese traditional cultural elements in the creation of painting, especially the fusion of Chinese opera art elements and the expressive language of oil painting. His exploratory thinking and pioneering art practice offer a new thinking mode and template for the innovation of Chinese painting.

About the Artist

Guan Liang (1900-1986), his pen name was Lianggong, born in Panyu, Guangdong Province. He studied abroad in Japan, majored in Western painting in 1917, and returned to China in 1922, successively taught in Shanghai Art College, Guangzhou Vocational Art School, Shanghai University of the Arts, National Academy of Art. After the founding of new China, Guan Liang served as Vice Chairman of the Shanghai Branch of Chinese Artists Association, professor of Zhejiang Academy of Fine Arts and a painter of Shanghai Institute of Chinese Painting. His creations in oil painting were influenced by Matisse and Gauguin. He was good at depicting Beijing opera figures, especially the expression in their eyes, reduced brush strokes with the use of traditional delineation, using wet ink and light color to perform expressions, being simple and honest, he created a new genre of Chinese painting depicting Chinese opera figures.

Photo by Yang Yanyuan, translated by Chen Peihua and edited by Sue/CAFA ART INFO

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