Yuan Yunfu, “Amorous Feelings a Wild Pool”, colored ink on paper, 2012

Yuan Yunfu, “Amorous Feelings a Wild Pool”, colored ink on paper, 2012

Yuan Yunfu is a well-known artist and art educator in China. From 1949 to 1952 he studied in the National Hangzhou Art School (now named China Academy of Art), directly cultivated by professors such as Lin Fengmian, Ni Yide, Pang Xunqin, Lei Guiyuan, Wu Dayu, Guan Liang, Yan Han, etc. We could see that Yuan Yunfu’s art started from the beautiful West Lake in Hangzhou.

There was an adjustment to the faculties of the national educational institutions in 1953, when Yuan went to Beijing, the faculties of the National Hangzhou Art School merged into CAFA, and this was directed by Zhang Guangyu, Zhang Ding, Dong Xiwen, Li Keran, etc. Two important academic centers in the north and south of China pursue their own different artistic concepts and styles of study, giving the young artist a multi-faceted artistic nourishment, especially in the comparative studies between the two systems of Chinese tradition, ethical folk art and Western art established a comprehensive accomplishment and cognition of art.

In the process for developing painting in China over the century, Western painting has gradually become a mainstream art form in Chinese painting. Yuan Yunfu’s creation of Western painting began as early as the 1950s. Starting with the knowledge of the scientific principles of light and color of Western impressionism, naturally integrating the performance methods of the Chinese New Year painting and Dunhuang fresco painting which feature subjective color, demonstrating his special understanding and expression of modern Chinese study of color, which was a natural integration of traditional Chinese aesthetic experience of color, modern Chinese life and Western Impressionism painting style. In the long-term artistic practice, Yuan Yunfu put the ethical aesthetic feeling and the study of color for local folk art into several hundreds of gouache paintings created during several decades, gaining remarkable achievements, creating a unique Chinese aesthetic spirit of color.

Yuan Yunfu, “Morning Lotus”, colored ink on paper, 2012

Yuan Yunfu, “Morning Lotus”, colored ink on paper, 2012

Yuan Yunfu, “Autumn Moon in the Smooth Lake”, gouache on paper, 1962

Yuan Yunfu, “Autumn Moon in the Smooth Lake”, gouache on paper, 1962

Mr. Yuan has devoted himself to the reform of Chinese painting since the 1960s. Based on ink, taking color as the carrier, Yuan has combined the experience of studying color during the practice of Western painting creation and the technology of brush and ink in traditional Chinese painting, as well as the performance methods of modern art, showing the unique Chinese colored ink painting art. On the issue of how to inherit the tradition, he believed that traditional Chinese literati painting is paid too much attention while it was the lack of study of the large numbers of religious temple murals and folk art, filled with freedom and vitality, which might become a stepping-stone to success for the modern transformation of Chinese painting. He completed a lot of practical research, and attained a very important achievement in the study of the theme, arrangement and composition of screen, ink and color in Chinese painting, to promote the development of modern Chinese ink painting art.

At the exhibition in Zhejiang Provincial Museum, Yuan Yunfu features his selections of works from more than six decades, these works record the effort of the old artist in the modernization of Chinese art. These valuable artistic achievements, will give us an opportunity to carefully appreciate the mellow vision left by the times, the cultural purpose that is the indomitable enterprise of the old generation, working with perseverance, indulging in the fascinating artistic realm created by Yuan Yunfu.

About the exhibition

Exhibition Dates: November 1 – November 7, 2013

Venue: Zhejiang West Lake Art Museum (No.25 Gushan Road, Hangzhou)

Courtesy of the artist and Zhejiang West Lake Art Museum, translated by Chen Peihua and edited by Sue/CAFA ART INFO.

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