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Creating of an eternal audience

Long life and colorful career of artist Huang Yongyu are presented as his farewell gift to the world, Lin Qi reports.

By Lin Qi | China Daily | Updated: 2024-07-09 06:01
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Huang drew a remake of his own design of the Golden Monkey stamp, issued in 1980, which attracts admirers to the National Art Museum of China exhibition For So Long, and Colorful in Beijing. [Photo by Jiang Dong/China Daily]

In an article he wrote in 1979, Landscapes Under the Sun, the prolific artist Huang Yongyu (1924-2023) recounted anecdotes about his uncle-once-removed, Shen Congwen (1902-88), a writer and scholar of repute, and how his attitude toward life and academic research had influenced his own.

At the end of the article, he wrote: "What a long life (Shen) lived, and (his experiences were) so rich, and colorful."

Today, Huang is also regarded as a prominent figure in art and culture, whose life and career were, like Shen's, long and substantial.

A phrase from his commentary about his uncle, For So Long, and Colorful, has become the title of an exhibition of his work being held at the National Art Museum of China in Beijing until Thursday.

In 2013, Huang held an exhibition at the National Museum of China to commemorate his 90th birthday. It was an all-encompassing show to display his accomplishments in painting, design and literature — the artist was also an avid writer who published dozens of novels and collections of essays and prose articles.

The current exhibition at the National Art Museum is a show of 159 ink paintings, all made after he turned 90.

It is not billed as a retrospective — the usual practice for a late, accomplished artist — but per Huang's request, as a show of his "latest work". It is one he had planned for some time.

"None of the paintings in the show will have been seen before in art and cultural circles," he once said. "I'm pretty serious about making it happen."

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