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Lot 417: SCROLL OF RATS ATTR GAO JIANFU (1879-1951)
05 November 2016
Online, PA, USALive Auction
Scroll Of Rats Attr Gao Jianfu (1879-1951):
A basket of rats are dining on grapes. Some have climbed to the top and some have chewed through the basket's weave. Artist's seal on bottom right. A panel of calligraphy and artist's seals is above the painting.
Gao Jianfu (1879–1951) was a Chinese artist during World War II. He is known for leading the Lingam School's effort to modernize Chinese traditional painting as a "new national art." Along with his brother Gao Qifeng and friend Chen Shuren, Gao Jianfu brought the nihonga style of painting to China.
Jianfu once wrote: "I think we should not only take in elements of Western painting. If there are good points in Indian painting, Egyptian painting, Persian painting, or masterpieces of other countries, we should embrace all of them too, as nourishment for Chinese painting."
Although Jianfu was greatly interested in Western art and joined societies that promoted this style, his artwork during his time in Japan shows little influence of Western art. His art mainly reflects the work of nihonga painters like Kano Hogai, Hashimoto Gaho, and Takeuchi Seiho. Often Jianfu would paint flowers, plants, and grasses. He also took inspiration from traditional Chinese artists Tang Yin and Lan Ying.
In the 1920s, Jianfu's paintings showcased elements of "realism derived from Western art," as well as traditional Chinese ink and brushwork. The subject matter of his work strayed away from the themes of traditional art (i.e. flowers, birds, landscapes, etc.) and focused more on contemporary reality.
In 1927 the connection between his art and political agenda was made clear with the unveiling of a new exhibit in Canton. The series of airplane paintings showcased a banner with Sun Yat-sen's slogan, "Aviation to Save the Country." This propaganda can especially be seen in Jianfu's paintings, "New Battlefield," "Air Defense," and "Flying in the Rain."
Throughout his time in Macao during World War II, Jianfu painted Skulls Crying over the Nation's Fate. It depicted a pile skulls lying in a field of grass.
82 1/2" x 19 1/4"
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