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Display of modern Chinese ink masters

By Deng Zhangyu | China Daily | Updated: 2017-11-14 07:29

Display of modern Chinese ink masters

A visitor at the ongoing show, Intimate Encounter, from the M K Lau Collection, featuring works of 20th century ink-and-brush paintings, at the Guardian Art Center in Beijing. [Photo provided to China Daily]

If you want to better understand an ink painter's personality, then albums and handscrolls are probably most revealing about an artist, because their intimate style was designed to be appreciated among friends.

About 50 works of albums and handscrolls that have rarely been seen in public are being displayed in Beijing from the M K Lau Collection, a private Hong Kong family collection focusing mainly on 20th century Chinese ink paintings.

The show Intimate Encounter at the newly-opened Guardian Art Center features many modern ink masters, including Zhang Daqian (1899-1983), Pu Ru (1896-1963), Wu Changshuo (1844-1927) and Lu Yanshao (1909-93).

"Intimate Encounter represents a very personal form of art, normally enjoyed among friends. It allows us to see the different personalities of the ink painters," says Catherine Maudsley, curator of the show.

Some of the albums on display have been wrapped up in layers of cloth, cases and silk covers, underlining the private nature of the pieces. And the artists who created them put their personalities, whether it be in the form of humor or drama, into these works.

The exhibition has nine pieces by ink painter Pu Ru - a cousin of Pu Yi, the last emperor of China - on display. Pu Ru is also regarded as among the most talented painters from the royal families of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911).

On one tiny scroll displayed under a magnifying glass for visitors to see more clearly, Pu Ru painted scenes of playful animals: a lonely tiger, a fox watching birds fly overhead, delightful deer and rabbits hidden in grass that even with a magnifying glass, they are hard to spot.

"It shows the dramatic and humorous side of Pu Ru," explains Maudsley.

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