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Miles Beyond Mountains and Borderland: Landscape Paintings Themed on Western China by Guan Shanyue in Collection of Guangzhou Museum of Art

Release time:19-04-11

Guan Shanyue (1912--2000) was an outstanding contemporary Chinese painter and major representative of the Lingnan School of Painting. He innovated and practiced the concept of “painting should follow the steps of the times”. He plunged into the thick of life, and paid special attention to sketching. He traveled frontiers and deserts in China, and created a series of excellent works reflecting real life.
In his long artistic career, Guan’s sketches during the 1940s were of great significance. From 1940 to 1945, he traveled to Guangxi, Guizhou, Yunnan, Sichuan, Shaanxi, Gansu, Qinghai and so on. He accumulated a large number of sketches, and imitated Dunhuang murals. In the meantime, he also created a large number of works and held exhibitions in various places.
After the founding of the People’s Republic of China, Guan went to Western China for more sketches. It can be said that the great rivers and mountains in the western part of the motherland are one of the important sources in his artistic creation. Since 1977, he had visited Zunyi, Yan'an, Qinghai, Dunhuang and the Three Gorges. Practicing the creed "I need to travel in order to paint", Guan did a great number of works themed on Western China during his journeys. Until his old age, he still insisted on going to the west and traveled thousands of miles. In addition to the above-mentioned works, he often created western-themed paintings based on accumulated sketches. He emphasized that the depiction of objects must be accurate and vivid as well as in line with objective reality, and he was against so-called programmed techniques without feelings of life. His works were directly developed from sketching, and the execution of his painting was also based on scientific perspective. Even if subjective emotions were added, Guan would not violate objective principles. His works are often swift and fierce, his lines rough and strong, his colours gorgeous, and his ink integration perfect, reflecting the spirit of the times.
In this exhibition, we selected Guan’s paintings themed on Western China in the museum’s collection. We sincerely hope that the visitors may appreciate the charm of the landscapes of our country, and also feel the affections of artist towards his motherland and art.