Eastern Art Online, Yousef Jameel Centre for Islamic and Asian Art

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The scholar artist in his studio

  • loan
  • Description

    Michael Sullivan’s (1916-2013) journey in Chinese art started in west China during the Second World War (1939-1945), where he became friends with many Chinese artists. However, Michael never met the artist of this painting, Fu Baoshi (1904-1965). Their connections were through a mutual friend Geoffrey Hedley (died 1958), who was a British Council official and had contacts with many artists in China during the 1940s. Hedley bequeathed his collection of Chinese art, including this painting, to Khoan (1919-2003) and Michael Sullivan.

    Fu Baoshi occupies a unique place in modern Chinese art as a traditional painter because, although he studied both Western and Japanese art in Tokyo (1933-1935), he always remained a Chinese artist. The subjects of his paintings were almost always figures, landscapes, and figures in landscapes. His slender, elongated figures recall the style of the Six Dynasties (AD 220- AD 589), while the monumental scale of his landscapes recalls the Northern Song (AD 960-1127) masters. The inscription is a poem by the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) author Wu Meicun (1609-1671), about his friend, Shao Mi (c.1592-after 1642), the ‘eccentric painter’. Baoshi adds ‘Meicun has portrayed me.’

  • Details

    Associated place
    Asia China (place of creation)
    AsiaChinaSichuan province Chongqing (probable place of creation)
    AsiaChinaJiangsu province Nanjing (possible place of creation)
    1946 - 1948
    Fu Baoshi (1904 - 1965) (artist)
    after Wu Meicun (1609 - 1671) (author)
    Associated people
    Shao Mi (c. 1582 - after 1652) (subject)
    Material and technique
    ink and slight colour on paper
    30 x 34 cm (height x width)
    Material index
    Technique index
    Object type index
    No. of items
    Credit line
    On loan from the Khoan and Michael Sullivan Collection.
    Accession no.
  • Further reading

    Sullivan, Michael, Modern Chinese Art: The Khoan and Michael Sullivan Collection, revised edn (Oxford: Ashmolean Museum, 2009), no. 34 on p. 76, illus. p.76 fig. II.34

    Sullivan, Michael, Art and Artists of Twentieth Century China (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1996), fig I.18

    Sullivan, Michael, Chinese Art in the Twentieth Century (London: Faber, 1959), fig. 18


    • currently in research collection

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