Nature's visionary artist

By Lin Qi ( China Daily ) Updated: 2015-04-21 08:06:20

Nature's visionary artist

Southern Bank of Lianjiang River, a mountain-and-water painting by Huang Binhong.[Photo provided to China Daily]

Huang Binhong's work is baffling to many, but the painter continues to inspire generations of artists 60 years after his death, Lin Qi reports.

Huang Binhong's landscape style is affectionately called "a lump of thick, dark ink", but his paintings do feature a variety of colors.

Huang (1865-1955) was part of a generation of artists who modernized traditional brushwork by applying gorgeous colors and choosing uplifting subjects. Huang, however, dedicated himself to perfecting shading. He used layers of ink blocks to present the great beauty of nature.

Huang was not anxious for recognition. He spent decades researching Chinese old masters' works. He achieved artistic maturity in his 80s. He once said: "People will not acknowledge my paintings until 50 years after my death".

The National Art Museum of China is showing its collection of Huang's mountain-and-water (shanshui) paintings. The exhibition commemorates the 150th year of Huang's birth.

The exhibition includes two albums of Huang's drawings on loan from a private collection overseas. It is the first time either album has been on public view. One contains Huang's initial sketches, offering a glimpse of the logic his brushwork follows-from which point he started and how he arranged the lines.

The other depicts Huang's 70 copies of old masters' works, and reveals how he built up his own system of the shanshui genre. A highlight is the juxtaposition of Huang's copy and the original caoshu (cursive script) scroll, Poem on Wangwushan Mountain by Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) calligrapher Wang Duo.

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