Past Exhibitions

Southern Zhang and Northern Qi: Zhang Daqian and Qi Baishi Special Exhibition


Project Planner

Liu Yiqian, Zhao Dong
Curator Xie Xiaodong
Co-organizer Long Museum, Rong Bao Zhai

2022, the year for Long Museum’s 10th anniversary, as well as Rong Bao Zhai’s 350th anniversary. Long Museum collaborates with Rong Bao Zhai, from September 2 to November 20, selecting 50 remarkable pieces (set) to hold “Southern Zhang and Northern Qi--Zhang Daqian and Qi Baishi Special Exhibition”. The exhibition will debut in Shanghai as a prelude to unveil the exhibition of Long Museum’s 10th anniversary, then it will tour in Beijing, which would promote cultural and artistic exchanges between Beijing and Shanghai.

In the 1930s, during Zhang Daqian’s stay at Bei Ping, him and Qi Baishi had regular contacts and participated local exhibitions, and were both brought up multiple times on newspaper as significant painters. In the new China, Zhang Daqian gained his reputation among international art world, while Qi Baishi became an artist of the people and was highly praised.

Zhang’s early phrase focused on intimating, expert on landscape, portraiture, floral, birds and other subjects, Xu Beihong once wrote “there is only one Daqian since five hundred years”. Later, Zhang lived overseas for long, these rich experiences had broadly widened his horizons and outlooks, finally he managed successfully to merge both traditional and modern skills, creating the splash ink method particularly splash color which gained reputation worldwide, corresponding the popular Abstract Expressionism in Western culture.

Qi Baishi settled in Beijing and begun his study on the old masters from Ming and Qing dynasty. The style tends cold and subtle at beginning, later while aging, he developed a way to portray the “hidden yet not unseen” subjects, brought new height on poetic portrayal of birds and flowers based natural pleasures the finesse between resemblance and difference. Meanwhile Qi fused boldly the technique of calligraphy with painting, which leaded him to apply seal and clerical scripts into portraiture by abandoning the traditional subtraction methods that can present the elegance and forcefulness in portraiture since five dynasties, instead his objects turned out vividness and naivety with a sense of philosophy and poetic; in terms of landscape, he rebelled against the Ming and Qing dynasty’s painting method by conceptualizing subjects, taking away the superfluousness and aim for minimalism, it was quite original and revolutionary, corresponding the exploration of modern paintings.

Though the two masters have distinctive ways to express, they both encouraged to reactive the traditional styles in Chinese painting with creativity so that their new forms would obtain appreciations and responses within the modern cross-culture. It is exactly reflected “only what nationalized firstly then globalization”. These two as the iconic painters for 20th century China, they take different experimental paths, however they represent two kinds of explorations of Chinese art on the way to Modernism, presenting how civilization regenerate its own culture to fit into the time through creativity.

Long Museum will present 50 masterpieces of Zhang Daqian and Qi Baishi to the public, from their early, middle to late periods, which respectively covertheir entire artistic trajectories, the audience also have a chance to re-evaluate the history and revalue the contributions of the two masters in art practice. Under the global context nowadays, the dicussion of further development of Chinese Art and Chinese contemporary art will still be a significant topic.  

In the meantime, catalogue the Collection of Southern Zhang and Northern Qi--Zhang Daqian and Qi Baishi Special Exhibition will be published, which includes an article of Liu Yiqian, foreword from Zhao Dong and an essay Modern Changes on 20th Century Chinese Art through “Southern Zhang and Northern Qi” from curator Xie Xiaodong, along with color HD photos and HD details from 50 works of Zhang Daqian and Qi Baishi. 

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