CITY GUIDE >Culture and Events
Colors of life
(China Daily)
Updated: 2008-11-03 15:45

Colors of life

The National Art Museum of China's latest exhibition of watercolor paintings features 80 carefully-chosen exhibits, offering viewers a panoramic view of the various styles of watercolor paintings in China and their evolution over the past century.

Included are decades-old masterpieces created by such veterans as Gu Yuan, Wu Mifeng and Wu Biduan. The majority are works created from the 1980s through to recent years by contemporary artists including Zheng Zhen, Tian Yugao and Cong Ruri.

Gu Yuan (1919-1997) was a renowned painter of watercolors, whose Bank of Songhua River ranks as a signature work. A subdued color scheme dominates the tableau which has a little boat emphasized in the foreground. Different tones of green are employed to produce distance and depth. The vast span of water, which suggests summer time in northern China, floods to the bank, embracing the luxuriant trees into its bosom. The reflection of the trees, the boat and reeds conveys a sense of tranquility and peace.

Works of the 1980s and 1990s are richer in theme and style. Chen Chaosheng's still-life painting is characterized by contrasting colors and distinctive outlines; Chen Jian's landscape has an impressionist flavor with touches of light and shadow; and Liu Changming's realistic work borrows elements from oil techniques with an emphasis on the quality of materials used.

"Watercolor painting is like an island lying between the two continents of oil and ink paintings," says noted artist Wu Guangzhong. "It connects the two major painting genres."

In the 1980s, when China opened up to the world, many artists picked up Western trends, and injected this genre with the vitality of innovative techniques and materials.

9 am-5 pm, until Nov 27

National Art Museum of China, 1 Wusi Dajie, Dongcheng district, 中国美术馆,6401-7076