Tiger Watercolor Painting by Gao Qi-feng (1889-1933)

(奇峰) (1889-1933) 水彩畫

Although Gao Qifeng was as theoretically committed to the ideal of a "New National Painting" as his brother, his most beautiful surviving works preserve the lyrical spirit of Japanese painting

Gao Jianfu's younger brother, Qifeng, accompanied him to Japan, where the younger man studied the art of Japanese realism, or Nihonga. This painting, with its combination of Western naturalism and Japanese decorative style, is a superb example of the manner he learned in Japan.

(日期 : 無) P. 786





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Lingnan School of Painting

Lingnan refers to that part of China to the south of the 'Five Ranges' which are Tayu, Qitian, Dupang, Mengzhu, Yuecheng. When we speak of 'Lingnan painting' today, we are referring to the work of painters in the Guangdong province in general. Lingnan School is only one of major Chinese traditional painting schools in Lingnan of Guangdong, which came into being in late Qing period. Strictly speaking, the two terms 'Lingnan painting' and 'Lingnan School painting' are not interchangeable. The 'Lingnan School painting' only refers to the painting by the painters of the 'Lingnan School', and it should not be used to refer to painting of the Guangdong province as a whole. Since late nineteenth century, the Lingnan School of painting has exerted tremendous influence on the painting development of the Lingnan area, so much so that it brought forth a new movement in Chinese painting in the first half of the twentieth century. This was the result of the heroic effort of Gao Jianfu (1879-1951), Gao Qifeng (1889.-1933) and Chen Shuren (1883-1948). The success of these three painters was so prominent that they are hailed as the 'Three Masters of Lingnan'. To trace the early styles of the painting of the Lingnan School, we shall have to study the work of the forerunners of the Lingnan Nan School, i.e. Ju Lian (1828-1904), Ju Chao (1811-1865), Song Guangbao (19th century) and Meng Jinyi (19th century). They were famous flower painters in the 19th century.

Song Guangbao, alias Outang, was a native of Changzhou district in Jiangsu province. He was noted for his painting of flowers and plants in a near-to-realistic manner in the style of Yuri Shouping (1633-1690), one of the Six Great Masters of Early Qing. Meng Jinyi, alias Litang, was a native of Yanghu district, also in Jiangsu province. His bird-and-flower paintings were modeled after those of Chen Shen (1483-1544) of the Ming dynasty (1368-1644). Song and Meng were invited to Guangdong as painting teachers by Li Bingshou. Li was a native of Jiangxi and was appointed to an official post in Guangdong during the reign of Daoguang (1821-1850). Song and Meng soon established themselves as the leading bird-and-flower painters in the Lingnan district. Among those who followed their style of painting based on the study of plant forms were the Ju cousins, i.e. Ju Chao and Ju Lian. Ju Chao, alias Meisheng, pseudonym jinxianzhu, was a native of the Panyu district in Guangdong province. He was a versatile scholar noted for his painting, poetry and calligraphy. He was proficient in the painting of birds, flowers, inscects, fish, landscapes and human figures. In the field of bird-and-flower painting, he was a master of the 'mogu' or 'boneless' techniques. His paintings on floral subjects have a touch of refinement which reveals his full mastery of his brushwork and colouring techniques, and his understanding of the system of growth of flowers and plants. Ju Lian, a younger cousin of Ju Chao, first learnt the art of painting from his cousin Ju Chao. Later he learnt from the works of Song Guangbao and Meng Jinyi and those of earlier masters. He loved to paint flowers, plants and particularly insects which he kept in his garden. His love for painting insects made him the greatest insect painter in Guangdong. Although he took Song and Meng and other masters as his models in painting, he was not bound by the styles of any of them. He succeeded in establishing a style of his own. His special colouring technique in which water and powder colour were skilfully applied to enrich gradation and textural feeling of leaves and flower petals, and his emphasis on the importance of detailed study of objects in life laid down the basis on which the Lingnan School painting later developed. Among the early masters of the Lingnan painting, Ju Lian was by far the most influential of all.

First Generation of the Lingnan School

Two of the 'Three Masters of Lingnan', Gao Jianfu and Chen Shuren, were the students of Ju Lian. Chen Shuren was recorded to be the last student of Ju Lian, and their relationship was later further strengthened by the marriage of Chen with the niece of his teacher. Gao Qifeng learnt the art of painting from his elder brother Gao Jianfu. It is noteworthy that both Gao Jianfu and Chen Shuren had gone to Japan to study painting. Therefore their painting styles have also adopted modern Japanese painting skills. The first generation of the school, i.e. the three masters, did extensive research and practice on the traditional painting with South China characteristics. The subjects were mostly strong and forceful things like ceibas, galloping horses, flying eagles and age-old pines. Technically, they sought after naturalism, applying both oriental traditional naivete and west European water color skills. So that their paintings look harmonious, clear and fresh.

Gao Jianfu(1879-1951) 高劍父

Original name Lun, courtesy name Jueting, is acclaimed as one of the "Three Masters of the Lingnan School". Gao began learning painting from Ju Lian at the age of fourteen. In 1906, he established a Chinese painting research institute. Later in the year, he went to Japan to continue his studies under the Japanese master Takeuchi Seiho (1864–1942). While studying in Japan, Gao joined the 1911 revolution league led by Dr. Sun Yat-sen. In 1908, he returned to Guangzhou of China to assume leadership of local revolutionary move. Meanwhile, He was devoted into art education, setting up a painting institute in Guangzhou in 1924, teaching in Zhongshan University and Nanjing Central University etc. He also devoted himself to promoting LINGNAN SCHOOL painting. In 1931, he traveled to India , where he spent time with the Tagore family and traveled to the Ajanta caves. Following his trip to India, Gao's became very interested in Asian spirituality, particularly Buddhist philosophy. When the Sino-Japanese war broke out in 1937, he moved to Macau. After the war, he returned to Guangzhou in 1946 to set up Nanzhong Arts Academy and to assume the presidency of Guangzhou Municipal Art School. In 1949, he moved to Macau and he stayed there before his death in 1951, at the age of 74.


Gao Qifeng (1889-1933) 高奇峰

One of the founders of Lingnan Painting School and younger brother of Go Jianfu, he was deeply influenced by his elder brother in painting techniques, ideas and personal experience. He was good at depicting birds, animals and flowers. Three of his masterpieces were hung at the Memorial Hall of Dr. Sun Yat-sen; "sea Eagle", "White Horse" and "Lion". His most famous painting is "Maple Tree and Eagle" scroll. He taught numerous students among whom are known painters as Huang Shaoqiang of the "Tian Fen Six Scholars".

字奇峰廣東番禺人。崙弟早年學畫於兄後東渡日本再求深造。 歸國後致力美術運動創辦真相畫報於上海設美學院於廣州並任嶺南大學教授成材頗眾。繪畫技法融合中外自成面目與兄崙、陳樹人、鄭錦等為嶺南畫派倡導人。花卉、翎毛、走獸均有獨特風格。國際間各大都市博物館多藏其作品。卒年四十五。

Chen Shuren (1883-1948) 陳樹人

Born in Panyu, Guangdong, one of the founders of Lingnan Painting School and renowned politician. Chen Shuren learned painting from Ju Lian when young. In 1905, he joined the new China Party and continued his study at Kyoto Art Academy of Japan. He was involved in the restructuring of KMT and succeeded to Sun Yat-sen as the Director of Overseas Chinese Bureau. After settling down in Guangzhou in 1947, he concentrated on art creation and produced a collection of poems, collections of paintings as" Chinese Paintings by Chen Shuren" and "Chen Shuren's Sketches". To commemorate his contributions, a memorial house in his name was built on the ruins of his former residence and open to the public on Nov. 26, 1988. A memorial hall for his son Chen Fu, a member of CPC and a revolutionary martyr, is also built inside the two-storied architecture.

現代著名畫家詩人政治家。他原名政字樹人以字行。別署猛進晚號安定老人。生於1883年卒於1948年。 廣東番禹(今廣州)人。陳早年隨其岳父居古泉學畫。後留學東瀛畢業於西京美術學校和東京立教大學。歸國後與高劍父昆仲開創嶺南畫派被稱為“嶺南三傑”。但其畫風有個人面目與高氏兄弟有所不同。他摒棄仿古注重寫生。花卉賦色清明秀美嬌豔柔嫩別具匠心。莫斯科列寧格勒巴黎柏林比利時等著名博物館均收藏有陳氏作品。 陳樹人在國民黨政府從政20雖居高位但能“出污泥而不染”且對繪畫吟詩從未中輟。病逝於解放前夕卒年66歲。著有《專愛集《戰塵集》等

Second Generation of the Lingnan School

The second generation is represented by Guan Shanyue, Li Xiongcai, Zhao Shao'ang and Yang Shanshen, who have made break through in both subject themes and technicality. They are the four major contemporary Lingnan School painters.

Guan Shanyue (1921- ) 關山月

Born in Yangjiang, Guangdong, Guan is a famous Chinese Painting artist and art educator. He learned painting from Gao Jianfu. Since 1980, he was elected Vice Chairman of China Artists Association. He once went on lecture tours to US and Japan and has held personal exhibitions. Publications: "Collection of Sketches by Guan Shanyue on Tour in US". "Copying Mural Paintings on Dunhuang Grottos" and "Guan Shanyue on Painting", etc. His representative work "The country is so beautiful" is hung on the Great Hall of the People in Beijing.


Li xiongcai (1910-2001) 黎雄才

A native of Gaoyao, Guangdong, he studied painting under Gao Jianfu (1879-1951) at the Spring Slumber Art Studio in his young age. He had also studied sketch and later went to Japan and studied Japanese painting at the Tokyo Arts College. In the 1940s, he toured to Guangxi, Sichuan and the Northwest regions, where he got much inspirations from the scenery there. Li had taught at the National Arts College. In 1978, he was appointed deputy director and head of the Chinese Painting Department of the Guangzhou Arts College and he is now the advisor of the college. He is also elected a director of the Chinese Artists Society and deputy director of the Chinese Artists Association, Guangdong Branch. In his early years, he studied painting under Gao Jianfu and painted in a delicate and charming manner. Later he introduced Western painting techniques of perspective and shading into his painting. He is fond of sketching and his painting style is noted for forceful brush strokes and heroic resonance. He often paints with dried ink tone and his brush work is characterized by a lyrical resonance. Li excels particularly in painting landscape and pines in a realistic manner.


Zhao Shao'ang (1905-1998) 趙少昂

Zhao is a native of Guangzhou, Guangdong. He studied painting at the Gao Qi Feng Private College of Art. He taught at the Foshan College of Fine Arts in 1927. In 1930, he founded the Lingnan Art Studio in Guangzhou. In 1937, he served as the head of the Department of Chinese Painting at the Guangzhou Municipal College of Fine Arts. In 1948, he was appointed a professor at the Department of Fine Arts, Guangzhou University. Later in the year, Zhao moved and settled in Hong Kong. There he founded the 'Lingnan Art Studio' to teach Chinese paintings. Zhao Shao Ang was inspired by Gao Qifeng in his early years. He excels in painting landscapes, animals, flowers, insects and fish, and is particularly noted for painting cicadas. Zhao is a representative painter of the Lingnan School.

原籍廣東省番禹縣,1905年生於廣州市。15歲入嶺南畫派高奇峰創辦的私立美術學館學畫。 1927年起在佛山市立美術學校任教員。1929年參加在上海舉辦的第一次全國美展。1930年作品參加比利時萬國博覽 會獲金牌獎。同年,在廣州創立嶺南藝苑。1932年作品參加在莫斯科、巴黎、柏林舉辦的中國藝術展覽。 1948年任廣州大學美術科教授。同年移居香港並恢復嶺南藝苑,從事藝術教育和繪畫創作。

Yang Shanshen (1913- ) 楊善深

Yang Shan-hen is one of the most representative artists of the second generation of the Lingnan School of Painting. Specialized in bird and flower, figure, landscape painting and excelled in calligraphy, he is open-minded to adopt the strength of archaic and modern, the Eastern and Western painting techniques. His paintings are therefore considered not entirely conformed to the original direction of the School. He establishes his own style by the application of dry textural strokes.


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