01 Group photo of the honored guests at the “Expert in the Principles of Art the Exhibition in Celebration of the 100th Birthday of Mr. Wen Jinyang was unveiled at CAFAM

On September 9, 2015, sponsored by the China Central Academy of Fine Arts, Hundred Years of Glory · Masters of CAFA – Experts in the Principles of Art: the Exhibition in Celebration of the 100th Birthday of Mr. Wen Jinyang. It was the 100th anniversary of the older generation of artist Wen Jinyang, in order to commemorate the “old teacher” who had made important contributions to Chinese art education, CAFA holds the “Exhibition in Celebration of the 100th Birthday of Mr. Wen Jinyang” and the related academic discussion, and it is a major activity of the “Hundred Years of Glory · Masters of CAFA” project which was established in the 95th anniversary of CAFA, to systematically comb through the hundred cultural tradition of CAFA, inheriting and carrying forward the spirit of CAFA.

“Masters of CAFA – Experts in the Principles of Art: the Exhibition in Celebration of the 100th Birthday of Mr. Wen Jinyang” comprehensively combs through and reviews the teaching research and artistic achievements of Mr. Wen Jinyang. The exhibition is divided into three parts including life, technique and painting. Wen Jinyang’s son Wen Guozhang and daughter carefully organized his paintings, manuscripts and materials to make a vivid exhibition including documents and art works. Exhibits include Mr. Wen Jinyang’s teaching manuscripts and teaching tools, as well as nearly 100 Chinese paintings, oil paintings, drawings and prints. It is noteworthy that, Mr. Wen Jinyang’s family members donated a number of art works and even the aged and faded manuscripts, as well 19 paintings of CAFA, all these enrich the cultural accumulation and academic inheritance of CAFA.

At 2:30 pm, the exhibition officially opened. Deputy Party Secretary of CAFA Wang Shaojun hosted the opening ceremony, President of CAFA Fan Di’an, Zhang Lujiang, Director of the Department of Fundamental Education for Plastic Arts, CAFA, Prof. Wen Guozhang from CAFA, the son of Wen Jinyang respectively gave a speech. The honored guests who attended the opening ceremony of the exhibition included: the senior professors from CAFA Sun Jingbo, Dai Ze, Yang Xianrang, Weng Naiqiang, Pan Shixun, Li Shusheng, Chen Weisheng, Bo Songnian, Su Gaoli, etc., as well as Vice President of CAFA Su Xinping, Dean of the School of Plastic Arts Ma Lu, Curator of CAFA Art Museum Wang Huangsheng and other in-service teachers, as well as the experts from the national key art museums appraisal group such as the Curator of National Art Museum of China Wu Weishan.

Mr. Wen Jinyang focused on the teaching of art technique theories, he was devoted to this all the life, Chief Planner of the exhibition, President of CAFA Fan Di’an wrote in the foreword that, “Since the early 20th century, many Chinese artists attached a large importance to studying the techniques on theories while engaging in creative practices. They wrote books and gave lectures, thus making fine arts technique theory a new academic subject. Among the scholars, however, it is Mr. Wen Jinyang who had persistently worked in this field and made effort in all the three aspects of anatomy, perspective and color.”

At 4:00 pm, the seminar of the exhibition was held in the lecture hall of the library of CAFA, the honored guests who were present at the seminar had a discussion on the topics of Mr. Wen Jinyang’s contribution to the establishment of the teaching system of CAFA, and the achievement of painting.

Wen Jinyang: “Three Books of Painting” and Art Endowment

When he was young, he started to learn art from Mr. Xu Beihong and Mr. Wu Zuoren. Following these teachers’ instructions, he not only studied painting but also devoted effort to studying painting technique theories. In his early years, he compiled the Middle School Fine Arts Textbook and Teaching Methodology. After the founding of the China Central Academy of Fine Arts in 1950, at the invitation of Mr. Xu Beihong, Mr. Wen Jinyang started to teach at the Central Academy and thereafter he chaired the teaching and research section on technique theory for a long time. He followed the academic pursuit of Mr. Xu Beihong who advocated that “artists should have the same spirit of seeking the truth as scientists do.” He quietly immersed himself in hard work and was fully committed which lifted the Central Academy’s technique theory teaching from a weak state to a normal state by establishing teaching standards and putting in place equipment and teaching tools. The courses he taught offered a new window for the students, which represents, in terms of basic teaching, a good example of the standardization of national advanced fine arts education in the 1950s. Mr. Wen Jinyang’s devoted himself to writing Human Anatomy for Artists (published by the Zhaohua Fine Arts Publishing House in 1956), Perspective Applied in Painting (published by the People’s Fine Arts Publishing House in 1963) and The Science of Colors for Painting (published by the Shandong People’s Publishing House in 1982). This work became one of the most important books on the technique of the teaching of painting, which spread widely and had a far reaching influence.

Although Mr. Wen Jinyang’s paintings are not well known, he really is very talented, from Mr. Wen Jinyang’s drawing, sketching, western watercolors and oil painting, we can easily see that his meticulous formative design and great mastery create a new style. When the new China was founded, he actively devoted his talent in art to the new life, and with great passion, he has reached out to people in real life. Mr. Wen Jinyang also took field trips to construction sites. Quite a number of his sketches describe the broad and fervent working scenes during his visits to factories, wharfs and reservoir construction sites, those sketches are huge in perspective, depicting the enthusiastic working scenes. The representative oil painting The Reservoir of the Ming Tomb, although small in size it also has a broad perspective and busy scenes, thus delivering the features and feelings of large-scale creations. As a matter of fact, in most cases, the scenic painters at that time saw that they were the same, but, to some extent, it was a real test of the mastery and sense of artists. These works should undoubtedly be listed in the history of fine arts in New China, as they bear witness to the life in that era and also record the artistic accomplishments of Wen Jinyang as a painter.

Mr. Wen had devoted much effort to both the technique of theory research and artistic creation. He did basic research, an endeavour full of reason, and at the same time he depicted real life with paintings, something calling for emotion. Shifting between these two starkly contrasting endeavours, demonstrated Mr. Wen’s deep belief and full academic passion in art education.

About the exhibition

Organizer: China Central Academy of Fine Arts

Chief Planner: Fan Di’an
Academic Supervisors: Xu Bing, Sun Jingbo
Exhibition Supporter: Wen Guozhang

Curators: Qin Jianping, Zhang Lujiang, Tang Bin
Exhibiting Time: Sept 9 (Wednesday)—Oct 7 2015

Opening Time: 14:30, Sept 9 2015
Venue: 4F Exhibition Hall, CAFA Art Museum

Text by Yu Ya, Photo by Yang Yanyuan/CAFA ART INFO

Translated by Chen Peihua and edited by Sue/CAFA ART INFO

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