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The Tides of Canton: Paintings by Gao Jianfu and Gao Qifeng in Collection of Guangzhou Museum of Art

Release time:16-04-07

Gao Jianfu and Gao Qifeng, brothers born in Panyu county of Guangdong Province, are referred to as the “Two Gaos” who were both masters in Chinese modern fine art history. In his boyhood, Gao Jianfu became student of Ju Lian, the famous Lingnan painter. In the last years of the Qing Dynasty, the Gao brothers went to Japan consecutively, getting inspiration from modern Japanese fine art, and rejuvenated Chinese painting. The Two Gaos joined the Chinese Revolutionary League one after another, and followed Dr. Sun Yat-sen for demoncratic revolution. After the 1911 Revolution, the Two Gaos withdrew from the political arena and dedicatd themselves to artistic reform, who later became founders of the Lingnan School of Painting.

As artists bearing historical ideals and missions, the Two Gaos advocated an “Art Reform”, which was in fact an extension to the political reform. When art meets reality, their pursuit of realism can be acheived. Their ideology of “Eclectic fusion of ancient and modern, Chinese and foreign” has made it possible to break through the limits of traditional Chinese painting format and create “New Chinese Painting” based on tradition yet borrowed experience from relistic modern Japanese painting techniques. They invented such paintings that can draw closer visual connections with the viewers, and shew a broader dimension in traditional Chinese painting. They sticked to the times and embraced reality, introducing ideologies of evolution and cosmopolitanism to Chinese painting and providing rich intellectual and linguistic resources for the development of Chinese painting.

By the joint efforts of the Two Gaos and other artists aspired to Chinese painting reform, the New Chinese Painting has transformed from an eclectic fusion into a better control towards life and the theme of the times, and hence development and rejuvanation are bestowed.