Exploring the art talent of a pioneering architect
It's not a common practice for a museum to devote two exhibition venues to one person, but Jiushi Art Museum is doing it for architect Tong Jun (1900-1983).
Tong was a master of his generation, not only in architectural design, but also in painting and gardening.
A renowned architect, builder and educator in modern China, a pioneer in the theory of modern Chinese gardening and the study of Western modern architecture, Tong is also known as one of the "four masters of architecture," together with Liang Sicheng, Yang Tingbao and Liu Dunzhen.
The exhibitions, titled "Westbound Paintings – Southeast Garden Villa – Special Exhibition of Architect Tong (1900-1983)," are on display at both Jiushi Art Museum and the Jiushi Art Salon. They include a large number of Tong's manuscripts, historical documents and architectural drawings that are displayed for the first time.
Tong graduated from the Tsinghua School in Beijing at an early age, and then went to the University of Pennsylvania where he studied architecture. He was one of the first Chinese architects to study in the United States.
Tong witnessed the emergence and development of modern Chinese architecture. He made a critical contribution to the inheritance and development of China's traditional architectural culture as well as to the study and learning of modern Western architectural theories and techniques.
He produced a large number of outstanding architectural works in Shanghai, Nanjing, Chongqing, Guiyang and Kunming.
Visitors are able to approach Tong as one of the first generation of Chinese architects in a fuller and more comprehensive way.
Under the theme of "Paintings from the West," the exhibition at Jiushi Art Museum highlights 200 sketches and paintings from his four-month travel in Europe as a practicing architect in 1930.
Arranged in a chronological order, the watercolor, charcoal and sketches he created during his visits to England, France, Germany, Italy, Switzerland, Belgium and the Netherlands reflect the man's passion for architecture.
"The best thing is to walk on a bridge, with the moon hanging over the Rhine, the reflection in the water, being a long line of golden sparks," Tong once said. "While going up to Rothenburg, again one heard dogs barking, crickets singing and water murmuring. There is the Terrace of Bugtor, the silhouette looked so light and unreal like a dream."
In the "Southeast Garden Villa" shown at another venue, Jiushi Art Salon, the exhibition is designed in the form of garden space. In this indoor "garden," which is precisely integrated with the exhibition content, a cluster of valuable research materials varying from survey drawings, writing manuscripts, book layouts to correspondence left behind by Tong, are shown for the first time.
The exhibition also coincides with the 60th anniversary of the publication of Tong's book "The Gardens of Jiangnan."
As a pioneer in the study of modern Chinese gardens, Tong's garden maps and manuscripts are also displayed to the public for the first time. Many of the gardens are long gone under the erosion of time, leaving behind these precious map drawings and photographs.
Date: Through May 21, 10am-6pm
Venue: Shanghai Jiushi Art Museum
Address: 6/F, 27 Zhongshan Rd E1
Venue: Jiushi Art Salon
Address: 230 Beijing Rd E.