In a show of solidarity with the regional community of Asian art museums, The National Art Gallery, Singapore
sent key works to China under its banner for the first time. Through 25 December 2010, the artworks of recently bereaved master Chinese painter Wu Guanzhong belonging to Singapore are exhibited at the Zhejiang Art Museum
in Hangzhou. Titled East Meets West The Exhibition of Wu Guangzhongs Paintings, it comprises a total of 307 works of art by Wu, of which hail from Singapores national collection. Singapores contribution of works is the second largest amongst the eight participating art institutions.
A retrospective on the legendary artist, the exhibition at Zhejiang Art Museum boasts a range of oil and ink paintings, sketches, calligraphy and watercolours. It is co-organised with Chinas Ministry of Culture and eight other art institutions. They include the Zhejiang Cultural Centre, Art Academy of China, National Art Museum of China, Zhejiang Art Museum, Shanghai Art Museum, Hong Kong Art Museum, National Palace Museum and Beijing Lu Xun Museum. The National Art Gallery, Singapore is the only non Chinese institution in the partnership.
Mr. Kwok Kian Chow, Director of the National Art Gallery, Singapore and member of the Exhibition Organising Committee, said, Wu Guanzhong is one of Chinas 20th century greatest artists and an inspiration to many. His generous and unparalleled donation of artworks to Singapore has allowed many Singaporeans and visitors to our island to appreciate and enjoy his artistic achievements. In honouring the spirit of Wu Guanzhong, we are happy to share his invaluable works outside of Singapore, allowing friends from China and around the world to have a chance to see his celebrated artworks. As an active member of the global community of leading art museums and galleries, we certainly look forward to holding more of these travelling exhibitions in future.
Wu had considered Hangzhou his artistic hometown and a source of inspiration, often referring to it as a spiritual homeland. It was at the National Arts Academy of Hangzhou where he studied both Chinese and Western painting under Pan Tianshou and Lin Fengmian. A strong advocate of developing culture and the arts, Wu Guanzhong was one of the most influential Chinese painter, art educator and essayist of the 20th century. Wus belief in art creation as ones pursuit of beauty and form is reflected in his ability to integrate the two art forms of ink and oil, which represent art historical and aesthetic contexts of traditional Chinese and Western art.
In 2008, Wu Guanzhong donated to the national collection of Singapore his largest and most comprehensive collection of 113 oil and ink paintings ever presented to a public museum. Together with an earlier donation of one work, the Singapore collection of 114 works painted over five decades represents Wus entire creative oeuvre. They enable the National Art Gallery, Singapore to conduct extensive research on Chinese ink as an important medium in visual art. These works were valued then at about SGD$73.7 million and represent the highest valued donation of artworks to any museum in Singapore. Wu Guanzhong passed away peacefully on 25 June 2010, in Beijing, China, aged 91 years.