Ink and colour on silk
THE LIU JING XIU TANG COLLECTION OF CHINESE PAINTINGS
Zhou Chen (circa 1450-1535) was a pre-eminent artist in the middle Ming period. However, there is scant information about his life. Well known for teaching two renowned artists, Qiu Ying and Tang Yin, he was a professional painter who excelled in the styles of the imperial painting academies of the Northern and Southern Song dynasties. His subjects, many rooted in the paintings of the Zhe School, always teem with action and reflect the people's characters and his interest in society.
Before the Ming dynasty, it was very unusual for artists to depict the lives of ordinary people. Mastering the skills and styles of the imperial painting academies and other schools, Zhou Chen combined them and formed his style: he transformed formal, conservative paintings by interspersing scenes with ordinary people into his landscapes and cityscapes. In River Scenery, many of these vignettes can be spotted: people fishing, boating, chopping firewood, farming, chatting in front of waterfalls, merchants transporting their goods on the river, officials inspecting cities, villages and inspecting people at passes, etc. This work was painted with sophistication and well demonstrated how prosperous the cities were along the river coasts.
River Scenery is from the collection of the Liu Jing Xiu Tang, studio of Mr Liu Kuo Chun (1887-1978). Born in Jingjiang county, which is in Jiangsu province, Mr Liu was an entrepreneur in the textile industry and spent most of his life in the city of Changzhou. A philanthropist, he gave parts of his collection as gifts to the Nanjing Museum and Changzhou Museum. Because so few paintings survive that can be attributed to Zhou Chen, River Scenery, which measures 20 metres in length, is particularly precious.
Apart from these six classical Chinese paintings, another six modern works by Zhang Daqian, Wu Hufan and Guo Moruo from the same collection will be offered in our Fine Chinese Modern Paintings sale to be held on 28 May 2013 (Lot number 1382-1387).
Inscribed and signed, with one seal of the artist
Paintings, ink, paper, China, Chinese Dynastic, Classical
CHINESE CLASSICAL & MODERN PAINTINGS
43 x 2043 cm. (17 x 804 1/4 in.)
Gao Shiqi ed. Jiang Cun Xiao Xia Lu, juan 3, Hanhua Culture Ltd., Taipei, 1971, pp.446-447.
Yang Renkai (ed.) Chronology of National Treasure, Shanghai People's Publication House, 1991, p.573.