6 December 2013

CUHK and University of Oxford Jointly Present ‘Two Masters, Two Generations, and One Vision for Modern Chinese Painting’ to Exhibit Precious Collections of Renowned Chinese Painters Gao Jianfu and Lui Shou-kwan



As part of the Golden Jubilee celebrations of The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK), the Art Museum at CUHK joins forces with the Ashmolean Museum of Art and Archaeology (Ashmolean Museum) at the University of Oxford, the oldest public museum in the world, to present an exhibition on two renowned Chinese artists of the twentieth century.  Titled 'Two Masters, Two Generations, and One Vision for Modern Chinese Painting: Paintings by Gao Jianfu (1879-1951) and Lui Shou-kwan (1919-1975) in The Chinese University of Hong Kong and the University of Oxford', the exhibition will feature 50 masterpieces of the two painters selected exclusively from the art museums of the two universities, marking their first formal collaboration.  Prof. Andrew Hamilton, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Oxford, and Prof. Joseph Sung, Vice-Chancellor of CUHK, officiated at the opening ceremony today (6 December). 

A shared vision to revolutionize Chinese painting 

Gao's incorporation of western painting techniques and Lui's appropriation of Abstract Expressionism have represented two approaches by two generations of Chinese ink painters from the early to mid-twentieth century.  Born four decades earlier than Lui, Gao Jianfu was a good friend of Lui's father, who was also a competent painter.  Gao's stated intention to revolutionize Chinese painting resonated with the younger Lui.  Although their styles were radically different, their vision for Chinese painting remained remarkably similar. For the first time, their works are juxtaposed for the public to see. 

Hong Kong artist Lui Shou-kwan had close ties with both CUHK and the University of Oxford.  He taught ink painting at CUHK from 1966 to 1975.  During this period, his work was exhibited at the Ashmolean Museum on several occasions, and 33 works were collected by the museum over the years.  Twenty five of which will be shown at the current exhibition at the Art Museum of CUHK, probably for the first time.  Among them are the Chan (禪) paintings, for which Lui was well-known, as well as some sceneries of old Hong Kong done in innovatively abstract brushwork. 

To complement these works from the Ashmolean Museum, the CUHK Art Museum will present 25 works by Gao Jianfu, one of the founders of the 'Lingnan School'.  Gao avidly introduced western painting conventions to modernize Chinese painting. His paintings were not merely a synthesis of Chinese and western painting traditions, they often made subtle allusions to different things, from the ravages of war to the plight of China. 

Members of the public are welcome to visit the CUHK Art Museum to view these 50 representative works by the two masters.  Admission is free.  Details are as follows:

Exhibition Period:

7 December 2013 – 15 May 2014
(closed on public holidays)

Exhibition Venue:

Gallery I, Art Museum, CUHK, Shatin

Opening Hours:

Monday to Sunday, 10am to 5pm

Officiating guests at the opening ceremony: (From left) Professor Josh Yiu, Associate Director, Art Museum, CUHK;  Mrs. Helen Lui Ting, Lui Shou-kwan’s daughter;  Professor Jenny F. So, Director, Art Museum, CUHK; Mr. Christopher Mok, Chairman, Advisory Committee of the Art Museum, CUHK; Professor Andrew Hamilton, Vice-chancellor, University of Oxford; Professor Joseph JY Sung, Vice-chancellor, CUHK; Professor Archie Lee, Director, Institute of Chinese Studies, CUHK; Ms. Shelagh Vainker, Curator of Chinese Art, Ashmolean Museum
Officiating guests at the opening ceremony: (From left) Professor Josh Yiu, Associate Director, Art Museum, CUHK; Mrs. Helen Lui Ting, Lui Shou-kwan’s daughter; Professor Jenny F. So, Director, Art Museum, CUHK; Mr. Christopher Mok, Chairman, Advisory Committee of the Art Museum, CUHK; Professor Andrew Hamilton, Vice-chancellor, University of Oxford; Professor Joseph JY Sung, Vice-chancellor, CUHK; Professor Archie Lee, Director, Institute of Chinese Studies, CUHK; Ms. Shelagh Vainker, Curator of Chinese Art, Ashmolean Museum

'Courting Death' by Gao Jianfu (1940)
'Courting Death' by Gao Jianfu (1940)

'Autumn Memories' by Gao Jianfu (1936)
'Autumn Memories' by Gao Jianfu (1936)

'Crab-claw Narcissus' by Gao Jianfu (1907)
'Crab-claw Narcissus' by Gao Jianfu (1907)

'Dwellings Among Hills' by Lui Shou-kwan (1961)
'Dwellings Among Hills' by Lui Shou-kwan (1961)

'Chan Painting' by Lui Shou-kwan (1969)
'Chan Painting' by Lui Shou-kwan (1969)

'Stonecutters' Island' by Lui Shou-kwan (1961)
'Stonecutters' Island' by Lui Shou-kwan (1961)