Past Exhibitions

Grandson of the Old King — Puru at the Long Museum

2019.2.22-2019.8.11
Long Museum  Pudong

Organizer: Long Museum Pudong

Pu Xinyu (1896 - 1963) was born Aisin Gioro Puru. His courtesy name, bestowed at adulthood in addition to his given name, was initially Zhongheng and later Xinyu; his sobriquet was Xishan Yishi (Hermit of West Mountain); his familial names were Shengxinzhai and Hanyutang. He was the grandson of Prince Gong and the son of Zaiying. For this reason, his paintings and calligraphies are often marked with different stamps all with the phrase "Grandson of the Old King," from which this exhibition takes its name.

 

Puru was born a prodigy and became a man of letters through diligence. His life’s achievements were brilliant and colorful: not only was he a scholar in classical literature and history, he was also skilled at calligraphy. He often told his disciples and his friends: "Instead of calling me a painter, call me a calligrapher; instead of calling me a calligrapher, call me a poet; instead of calling me a poet, call me a scholar." This is a testament to the great importance that Puru attaches to the study of Chinese classics and the own responsibility he feels over poetry. Nevertheless, Puru is best known for his paintings.

 

Puru’s painted and calligraphy works are heavily loaded with cultural traditions. No doubt, this is due to his outstanding talent as well as the twenty years he spent as a hermit, studying in the west mountains. He is both talented and diligent; he was not only studious, but also authored many books. For more than ten years, up until his last days of life in Taiwan, he wrote, painted, and studied every day without pause. Puru’s style of painting has no precedent. Instead, it was born from the studying of famous paintings and scholarly poetry. His paintings of landscapes, people, flowers, animals, are all pioneering adventures into what would become his own style. Regardless of the technique, the forms, and the ideas introduced in his paintings, they are all evidence to Puru’s investigation of the Song Dynasty and present a view from a universal and cultural perspective that lies in harmony with nature. His calligraphy is handsome and vigorous; his paintings are elegant and coupled with the poetic thoughts of an unruly literati. All this comes together to form an oeuvre that perfectly combines poetry, calligraphy, and painting.

 

This exhibition selects nearly 60 sets of works from the rich collection of Puru’s artworks in the Long Museum collection. The exhibition is divided into three sections by phrases borrowed from Puru’s calligraphy. They respectively showcase Puru’s paintings of landscape, his paintings of religion, birds and flowers, as well as those of people, animals, and calligraphy.

 

Following the Puru Painting and Calligraphy exhibition in 2013, the Long Museum now once again displays Puru’s works in the "Grandson of the Old King" Exhibition after a gap of five years. In addition to promoting traditional culture, the Long Museum would like to take this opportunity to pay tribute to the artistic achievements of the Chinese painting master Puru. The Long Museum further hopes that those who love calligraphy and painting can fully appreciate Puru’s creative style and his underlying spirit.

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