New Style Shanghai painting ripe enough

Wang Jie
An exhibition featuring nearly 100 works by Zhang Guiming, remembered as one of the pioneers of "New Style Shanghai Painting," is held at Liu Haisu Art Museum.
Wang Jie

Despite invitations by art museums and galleries, Zhang Guiming (1939-2014) never staged a large solo exhibition. He thought his paintings were just not “ripe enough.”

Now remembered as one of the pioneers of “New Style Shanghai Painting,” an exhibition featuring nearly 100 of his works, created at different periods of his life, is being showcased at Liu Haisu Art Museum.

His wife Xiao Kezhen revealed: “Zhang was a man of perfection, and he hoped that he would have his first solo exhibition at the age of 80.”

Born in Shaoxing, Zhangjiang Province, Zhang graduated from the ink-wash painting department of the China Academy of Fine Art in 1964. He was also a former director at Liu Haisu Art Museum.

Starting from mid-1980s-90s, Zhang rose to fame for his ink-wash paintings. Absorbing Western elements from Henry Matisse and Joan Miro, he deconstructed stereo-typed subjects such as flowers, birds and cherries.

Under his brushstrokes, these traditional subjects are rendered in innovative ways through overlapping and re-combination.

His unique balance between realistic and abstract immediately established his status in the art community, as he bravely made a revolution on rice-paper.

Lang Shaojun, one of China’s top art critics, once commented his works “go to the edge of the realistic style and stopped in front of the door of abstract.” It was hailed by many Chinese artists, yet only a few succeeded in it.

“He never drew a repeated painting,” said Wang Guoan, the curator of the exhibition, and also one of Zhang’s students.

“For those paintings that he didn’t feel satisfied with, he either tore them apart or soaked them in the bathtub, and I think this is the attitude of a real artist.”

Exhibition info

Date: Through September 22, 10am-5pm

Venue: Liu Haisu Art Museum

Address: 1609 Yan’an Rd W.

New Style Shanghai painting ripe enough

"Lotus Pond" by Zhang Guimin

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