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National Art Museum of China hosting retrospective show of Chen Shizeng

By Lin Qi | chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2016-11-17 15:42

National Art Museum of China hosting retrospective show of Chen Shizeng

A Mortal is Immortal is held at Beijing's National Museum of China until Dec 20. [Photo by Jiang Dong/China Daily]

Chen Shizeng (1876-1923) is recognized as the pioneer of modern Chinese art for his comprehensive achievements as a painter, calligrapher, poet and educator, as well as his uniting with cultural figures of early-20th century China to progress Chinese painting.

A Mortal Is Immortal, a large-size exhibition now at Beijing's National Art Museum of China, commemorates the 140th anniversary of Chen's birth by showing a selection of his output. The exhibits come from the collection of the NAMOC, Palace Museum in Beijing, Central Academy of Fine Arts and Beijing Fine Art Academy.

Born to a scholarly family in Hunan province, Chen studied Western painting and natural history in Tokyo from 1902 to 1909. After returning to China, he taught at various schools while also became active in the art circles. He heralded the modernization of traditional Chinese ink art through painting, organizing exhibitions and giving lectures. He helped to launch modern master Qi Baishi’s career by introducing him, then an unknown painter in Beijing, to the cultural circles and further to the public.

Highlight works on show include Chen's most famous painting album of Beijing's grass-roots communities in which he painted people of different walks of life in a comic style, as well as mountain-and-water and flower-and-bird paintings revealing a scholarly taste of him.

The exhibition runs through Dec 20.

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