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Collection

An image of Figure in a boat under a wintry tree by REN Bonian

REN Bonian

(China 1840 – 1896)

Title
Figure in a boat under a wintry tree
Other titles:
Figure standing in a boat
Place of origin
ShanghaiChina
Period
Guangxu 1875 - 1908Qing dynasty 1644 - 1911 → China
Year
1893
Media category
Painting
Materials used
hanging scroll; ink and light colour on paper
Dimensions

114.3 x 48.2 cm image; 197.0 x 61.5 x 69.0 cm scroll

Signature & date
Signed and dated u.l. to c.l., in Chinese, inscribed in black ink "…in the March of the year of Guizi (1893)…Ren T Bonian.". Signed c.l., in Chinese, stamped in red ink "Ren Yi [artist's seal, square relief]". Signed c.l., in Chinese, stamped in red ink "Bo Nian [artist's seal]".
Credit
Purchased 1988
Accession number
395.1988
Location
Not on display
Further information

‘Orphaned in his early teens, Ren Bonian (also know as Ren Yi) was apprenticed to a fan shop in Shanghai. Here he learnt to paint and to copy the work of the then well-known and established artist Ren Xiong, and subsequently became his pupil. Ren Bonian’s figure paintings are distinguished by dramatic and accented brushstrokes. His inherent eloquence with brush and ink is well illustrated in the variable and expressive strokes of the tree, swift dashes of ink that define the wintry branches and the moody strokes that define the foreground rocks. He gained his fame as a portrait and figure painter but is equally known for his bird and flower subjects. This example is fully characteristic of his style: eloquent, sparse, delicate, with the brushstrokes echoing against timeless space of the background. This inscription, written by Ren Bonian in his studio in Shanghai in the third month of the ‘guizi’ year [1893] of Guangxu reign.’’

‘The Asian Collections: Art Gallery of New South Wales’. pg.166.
© 2003 Trustees, Art Gallery of New South Wales

Bibliography (7)

Edmund Capon, Orientations, 'Modern Chinese Paintings in the Art Gallery of New South Wales: The Shanghai School and its Impact', pg. 104-109, Hong Kong, Sep 2000, 104 (colour illus.). fig.1

Bruce James, Art Gallery of New South Wales handbook, 'Asian Collection: East Asia', pg. 246-287, Sydney, 1999, 259 (colour illus.).

Jackie Menzies and Edmund Capon, Asian Collection Handbook, Art Gallery of New South Wales, 'Chinese Painting', pg. 42-52, Sydney, 1990, 45 (colour illus.).

Jackie Menzies, Art of the Brush - Chinese & Japanese painting calligraphy, Sydney, 1995, 12, 13 (illus.). Cat.no. 3.5

Jackie Menzies (Editor), The Asian Collections Art Gallery of New South Wales, 'The Shanghai School and Modern Painting', Sydney, 2003, 166 (colour illus.).

Jackie Menzies, Contemporary Chinese Painting, 'Ren Bonian', Sydney, 1985, 14 (illus.). Cat.no.18

Richard, Cradles of Civilisation: China, "Ming and Qing Society: China and the West", J. Smith, Norman, Sep 1994, 163 (colour illus.).

Exhibition history (4)

Contemporary Chinese Painting, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 04 May 1985–30 Jun 1985

Chinese Painting, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 27 Nov 1991–27 Jan 1992

Art of the brush, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 23 Sep 1995–12 Nov 1995

Chinese New Literati Painting, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 23 Aug 1997–05 Oct 1997