August 21, 2011

Role Model

The National Palace Museum is holding a remarkable exhibition around the works of Huang Gonwang, the immensely influential landscape artist of the late Song Dynasty.

According to the exhibition notes, he first picked up a paintbrush when he was 50, and his greatest work, the scroll Dwelling in the Fuchun Mountains was completed when he was in his early 80s.

This scroll has been through the mill. One part ended up here in Taiwan as part of the corpus of imperial art spirited away when the Republic of China fell. Another portion resides at the Zhejiang Provincial Museum in Hangzhou. This summer the pieces have been on joint exhibition for the first time in 360 years

The exhibition is notable because it also includes copies, imitations, and wonderfully, attributed works. Since so much of Huang Gonwang's art has been lost, we can sometimes catch glimpses of lost originals through the eyes of those who emulated him.


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