Celebrating the Times: A Restrospective Exhibition of the Art of Liu Jirong
PrefaceBorn in Xingning of Guangdong Province, Liu Jirong (1931—2016) was a noted contemporary painter and educator of the Lingnan area. He graduated from the Zhongnan Fine Arts College in 1957, and went to Chinese Painting Department of China Central Academy of Fine Arts for further study in 1962. On his way to pursuit art, he met many noted tutors such as Guan Shanyue, Yang Zhiguang, Jiang Shaohe and Ye Qianyu who had deep influence on Liu.
As a typical representive artist after the founding of the People’s Republic of China, Liu Jirong was also an icon in figure painting of the Lingnan painting circle. For decades, he had been dedicated to figure painting and made great achievements in this field. He insisted that art shall be abide by the times, the common people and their lives. He visited vast territory of his motherland, especially the arduous western area in China. He tried very hard to depict the great achievements of China, the efforts made by its people, and the upright spirit of the times. The figures under his painting brush are vivid and genuine with fluent strokes and unrestrained usage of ink, forming an outstanding personal style.
Being a long-termed professor in the Guangzhou Academy of Fine Arts, Liu Jirong had been engaged in teaching and researches on figure painting. He advocated “four key points”: sketch, sketch from nature, imitation and paint from memory, which requires a solid skill in modeling and abundant techniques in ink usage. He also inherited the theory of the “Xu-Jiang System” initiated by famous Chinese painters Xu Beihong and Jiang Shaohe, and imparted it to groups and groups of young artists. Under his leadership, a great number of excellent figure painters had emerged in the Lingnan painting circle.
Liu Jirong passed away of illness on December 15, 2016. According to Liu's own will, his family decided to donate some of his paintings to the Guangzhou Museum of Art. In 2017, the Guangzhou Museum of Art received 689 pieces of Liu’s works, and organized this exhibition to give a retrospective display of his lifetime achievement. Hereby, we would like to take this opportunity to give our best regards to this senior artist and his family.
Guangzhou Museum of Art