Past Exhibitions

Exhibition on Paintings of Shanghai School

2019.8.18-2020.5.5
Long Museum  Pudong

Organizer Long Museum Pu Dong

In the late Qing Dynasty, Yangzhou, once the largest metropolis in the southeast, began to decline, but Shanghai became one of China's earliest foreign trade ports because of the signing of the "Nanjing Treaty" in the mid-19th century. In the following two decades, Shanghai replaced Suzhou, Yangzhou, and Guangzhou. It changed from a quiet and comfortable fishing port into the nation’s commercial center. Economic prosperity has brought cultural development. Shanghai, where there were not many painters, has become an important town in the art world, attracting masters of painting, forming the latest and largest painting school in modern Chinese history after the "Eight Monsters of Yangzhou", the Shanghai School of Painting. Referred to as "Shanghai School".


The pioneer painters of the early "Shanghai School" did show certain characteristics that catered to the market. Such characteristics can be found in the works of Zhao Zhiqian, Xu Gu, Ren Yi and Wu Changshuo, such as rich secular themes and gorgeous coloring methods. On the other hand, the "Shanghai School" painting never deviated from the traditional spirit and ink painting. Even after the May Fourth New Cultural Movement in which Western ideas were introduced in large numbers, we can still learn from Wu Hufan, Zhang Daqian, He Tianjian, Zheng Wuchang, Fu Baoshi, Xie Zhiliu and other painters whose works attach strong classical spirit and literati feelings.


After the mid-twentieth century, "realism" prevailed throughout the country. Shanghai's ink painting was more manifested in the pursuit of ink interest in realist themes, or the visual expression of traditional classic literary themes, such as Han Min, Liu Danzhai, Cai Tianxiong, Dai Dunbang, etc. are the representatives of this period. With the influx of Western art thought in the 1980s, the Shanghai ink painting circle became more and more active. For a time, experimental ink painting, academic new Chinese painting and traditional Shanghai style coexisted, opening up the diversified pattern of Shanghai ink painting art. 


"Shanghai School" painters tried to get rid of the old pattern, break through the traditional barriers, draw on foreign art, and develop new styles in various periods. They not only occupied half of Chinese painting, but also influenced the development direction of Chinese painting for a long time. It has become a bridge for the transformation of ancient Chinese traditional paintings into modern Chinese paintings.


Nearly 40 sets of "Shanghai Style" paintings are selected for this "Exhibition on Paintings of Shanghai School". According to the current "Shanghai Style" painting research, Wang Bomin, Ding Xiyuan and Lang Shaojun's era division method is more consistent. Therefore, the exhibition is divided into three sections:

1. The "Qianhai School" period from 1840 to 1930 with Zhao Zhiqian, Ren Bonian, Wu Changshuo, etc. as the main line

2. The "Houhai School" period represented by Wu Hufan, Zhang Daqian, Zheng Wuchang, He Tianjian, Xie Zhiliu, and Ying Yeping that have formed styles in the 1930s

3. The diverse "New Shanghai School" period represented by Cheng Shifa, Liu Danzhai, Han Min, Shi Dawei, Le Zhenwen, etc. who grew up after 1949

We believe that such a division method will not only provide visitors a more intuitive experience of the changes in "Shanghai Style" paintings since the end of Qing Dynasty and the beginning of the Republic of China, but also a glimpse of the diverse style and splendour of "Shanghai Style" paintings.

Ticket Information
Tickets: Free
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