Reminiscences of Nanjing: Washing the Inkstone

Maker(s)
Artist: Shitao (1642-1707) Zhang Daqian 張大千 (China, 1899-1983)
Historical period(s)
Qing dynasty, 1707
Medium
Ink and color on paper
Dimensions
H x W (image): 24.1 x 19.7 cm (9 1/2 x 7 3/4 in)
Geography
China, Jiangsu Province, Yangzhou
Credit Line
Gift of Arthur M. Sackler
Collection
Arthur M. Sackler Gallery
Accession Number
S1987.204.5
On View Location
Currently not on view
Classification(s)
Album, Painting
Type

Album leaf

Keywords
China, Qing dynasty (1644 - 1911), WWII-era provenance
Provenance

To?
Zhang Daqian (1899-1983). [1]

To 1987
Arthur M. Sackler (1913-1987), New York. [2]

From 1987
Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, gift of Arthur M. Sackler, New York. [3]

Notes:

[1] See object record.

[2] See note 1.

[3] See note 1.

Previous Owner(s)

Zhang Daqian China, 1899-1983
Dr. Arthur M. Sackler 1913-1987

Label

The theme of this painting is reminiscence of the artist's life in Nanjing, where he lived as a Buddhist monk for many years. As monk in charge of a large temple from 1680 to 1687, Shitao used his profound artistic talents to attract scholars as visitors. Such is the memory encapsulated in this image, wherein figures wash an inkstone, an act that refers to painting and writing calligraphy. Shitao inscribed the image with a poem.

The saturated colors and bold brushwork of this painting exemplify Shitao's highly individual style. The pine trees with teethlike needle clumps reveal his exceptional talent to create seemingly naive images that are in fact visually rich and varied, such as the round fullness of each tiny ink stroke here. In the spirit of Daoist philosophy, which considers the semblance of clumsiness to be a great skill, Shitao perfected a fresh, unpremeditated approach to art that profoundly influenced later Chinese painting.

Published References
  • Chang Wanli. Shitao shuhua ji [Selected Painting and Calligraphy of Shih-Tao]. multi-volumed, Hong Kong. vol. 4, pl. 95.
  • Richard Edwards. The Paintings of Tao-chi 1641-ca 1720: Catalogue of an Exhibition Held at the Museum of Art, University of Michigan, August 13-September 17, 1967. Exh. cat. Ann Arbor. pp. 44, 94, fig. 19.
  • Richard M. Barnhart. Wintry Forests, Old Trees: Some Landscape Themes in Chinese Painting. Exh. cat. New York. p. 63.
  • Les Trois Reves du Mandarin. Exh. cat. Brussels. cat. 84a, pp. 106-7.
  • Marilyn Fu, Fu Shen. Studies in Connoisseurship: Chinese Paintings from the Arthur M. Sackler Collections in New York, Princeton, and Washington, D.C., Third Edition. Princeton, 1973. pp. 302-313.
  • et al. Asian Art in the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery: The Inaugural Gift. Washington, 1987. cat. 206, p. 310.
Collection Area(s)
Chinese Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
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