Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Filling in the Gaps

Since most of us have a relatively limited knowledge of contemporary Chinese artists and their works (myself included), I thought I’d take it upon myself to do a little research, and share it with the rest of you. It seemed logical to begin with one of the pioneers in what can be considered modern Chinese art: Lin Fengmian.

Lin Fengmian was born in 1900 in Guangdong, China. The son of a traditional Chinese painter, Lin studied European styles in France and Germany before returning to China in the mid 1920’s. His work primarily attempted to synthesize Eastern and Western artistic styles, blending traditional Chinese methods with European modernism. After gaining much fame for his innovative style, Lin Fengmian helped to found the National Academy of Art in Hanghzou, a school that focused both on developing Chinese culture and on integrating Eastern and Western art.

Lin Fengmian produced a large number of paintings depicting autumnal landscapes, many of which are relatively dark and emotive.

Unfortunately, many of his works have been destroyed, first during the Japanese invasion that began in 1937, and later during the Cultural Revolution, when he destroyed many of his own works due to criticism from the Communist Party and the Gang of Four. Despite this, he was still imprisoned for nearly four years, after which he moved to Hong Kong in 1977, where he lived until his death in 1991.

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