Artists following in their fathers' footsteps

By Deng Zhangyu ( China Daily ) Updated: 2014-10-14 09:26:23

Artists following in their fathers' footsteps

Snow by Li Xiaoke, son of Li Keran, in 2010. Photos Provided to China Daily

The descendants of famed painters, including a French impressionist and several Chinese masters, come together in Beijing to celebrate their legacies, Deng Zhangyu reports.

Artists following in their fathers' footsteps

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Artists following in their fathers' footsteps

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More than 100 paintings by Qi Baishi, Xu Beihong, Pan Tianshou, Li Kuchan, Li Keran, Wu Zuguang, Xu Linlu and Pierre-Auguste Renoir were assembled to display at Beijing Exhibition Center which ended on Sunday. For the first time, descendants of these master painters gathered at the same site to talk about how their families' art legacies have been passed down.

Jean-Emmanuel Renoir, great-grandson of Pierre-Auguste Renoir, an icon of impressionism, was making his first visit to China. He was warmly welcomed by his Chinese counterparts from renowned artists' families, saying it made him "feel like a star".

Jean-Emmanuel Renoir has enjoyed a career as an art dealer since the 1990s. He set up Renoir Fine Art Inc to deal in works of impressionists and painters from the 19th century. His younger brother is an artist who tries to paint creatively based on their great-grandfather's masterpieces.

Because much of his family's collection has been sold to finance the films of Jean Renoir, the master painter's son, the family now has few of their ancestor's works, among which many are ceramics and sculptures. However, the younger Renoir is confident and eager to promote the impressionism icon in China.

He says his connections to a dozen private and museum collections of Renoir will enable him to hold a large-scale show of Renoir in China in the future.

"I'm sure I will bring more Renoirs to China," he says.

Unlike the fourth-generation Renoir, most of the Chinese descendants at the event choose to be artists themselves - or to be professors or experts on their fathers' art heritage.

Qi's granddaughter Qi Huijuan spends most of her time painting shrimp - a subject for which her forebear is known as a household artist in China. Pan's son Pan Gongkai has just retired from his position as the president of the Central Academy of Fine Arts; his father was the former president of National Art College, elements of which later became CAFA and the China Academy of Art.

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