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An image of A cat by XU Beihong

XU Beihong

(China 1895 – 1953)

A cat
Place of origin
Media category
Materials used
hanging scroll; ink and colour on paper

185.0 x 61.0 cm

Gift of Nancy and Terry Lee in memory of Charles Lee 2011
Accession number
Not on display
Further information

XU Beihong, a native of Yixing in eastern Jiangsu province, was one of China's most influential artists and art educators of the 20th century. During 1919-1927 he received a solid academic training in Paris at the Académie Julian and the École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts. Xu also studied under Arthur Kampf, President of the Berlin Academy of Art, while living in the German capital from 1921 to 1923.

He was best known for his history paintings, portraits, and pictures of horses, cats, and other animals. He was competent both in Western media and in the traditional Chinese ink-and-wash method. His rigorous and stylish illustrations of horses were especially highly acclaimed by Chinese critics and connoisseurs and this fame helped him gain an international reputation.

The inscription on the top left corner reads 'Ri chang ru xiao nian', meaning the day is as long as a short year. This phrase reflects the artist's pessimism during the period of the Japanese Occupation (1937-1945).

Asian Art Department, AGNSW, September 2011

Exhibition history (1)

One hundred flowers (2011), Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 01 Sep 2011–15 Jan 2012