132.0 x 33.7cm image; 205.0 x 46.0 x 52.0cm scroll [height x width x rod]
‘Qi Baishi is the quintessential master of modern Chinese painting. His work embodies the qualities of freshness, colour and audacious brushwork that were the hallmarks of Chinese painting in the traditional manner around the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries. Born in Hunan province, Qi was plagued by illness in his youth and learnt carpentry in an attempt to improve his condition. Although always interested in painting, it was not until his late 30s that Qi began to formally study painting and poetry, initially with the great scholar Wang Xiangyi. As his career progressed Qi became the most established Chinese artist of the 20th century. Later in life, and following the foundation of the People’s Republic, he was recognised in a number of positions and honours, including his 1953 appointment as ‘People’s Artist’. He was always the master of the ‘xieyi’ (spontaneous brushwork) manner and in this painting demonstrates his delight in his subject and the experience of playing with brush, ink and colour.’
The inscription reads: ‘On working in the garden, I pulled out weeds and cut off wilted flowers. The newly planted vine was not thick enough to cover the fence, so I filled the empty space with autumn melons. In so doing I lamented the hardships of life, and the struggle for food. Baishi.’ The scroll also bears the seal of the distinguished artist and collector C C Wang to whom this painting once belonged.’
‘The Asian Collections: Art Gallery of New South Wales’, pg.169
© 2003 Trustees, Art Gallery of New South Wales
Jackie Menzies (Australia) (Author), Contemporary Chinese Painting, 1985, 14 (illus.). cat.no.15
'The Shanghai School and Modern Painting', The Asian Collections Art Gallery of New South Wales 2003, 2003, 169 (colour illus.).
Jackie Menzies (Australia) (Author), Art of the Brush - Chinese & Japanese painting calligraphy, Sydney, 1995, 9, 14 (illus.). Cat.no.2.11
Contemporary Chinese Painting, Art Gallery of New South Wales, 04 May 1985–30 Jun 1985.
Art of the brush, Art Gallery of New South Wales, 23 Sep 1995–12 Nov 1995.
Chinese New Literati Painting, Art Gallery of New South Wales, 23 Aug 1997–05 Oct 1997.