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Norton Museum Exhibition Redefines 20th Century Chinese Paintings
Martin Cheng (b.1931): Two Fish, 1990. Watercolor and graphite on paperboard. Collection of Chu-tsing Li.

WEST PALM BEACH, FL.- The groundbreaking exhibition, A Tradition Redefined: Chinese Paintings from the Chu-tsing Li Collection, 1950–2000, presents a comprehensive picture of the development of Chinese ink painting in the later half of 20th century. It includes 63 works, drawn entirely from the collection of the eminent champion of 20th century Chinese painting, Chu-tsing Li, and provides an unprecedented view of the new artistic directions that Chinese ink painters explored between 1950 and 2000.

As one of finest and most comprehensive collections of its kind, it demonstrates the dramatic evolution of Chinese ink painting during this five decade period and lays a foundation for understanding the international-style work that is being created by Chinese artists today. During these years, Chinese artists struggled with a balance of traditional and international styles, while maintaining a reflection of their own inner personality and continuing the powerful legacy of their Chinese ancestry.

One of Dr. Li’s major accomplishments was the establishment of a doctoral program in Chinese at the University of Kansas. In 1975 he offered the first course in modern Chinese art taught in the West, and is an acclaimed author of scholarly works on modern Chinese painting, particularly from the second half of the 20th century which are the focus of this exhibition. Featured works include paintings by Liu Guosong, a pioneering artist who founded the first modern painters’ society in Taiwan. One of these works, Wintry Mountains Covered with Snow, was exhibited in a retrospective of Liu’s paintings at the Palace Museum, Beijing (2007). Renowned painter, poet, and calligrapher Zhao Shaoang is represented by a color horizontal scroll, Baoguo Temple on Mount Emei , which depicts a Buddhist pilgrimage destination on one of China’s sacred mountains. The renowned architect Chen Qikuan’s playful Monkeys are stacked like animated calligraphic building blocks.

Organized by the Phoenix Art Museum and Harvard University Art Museums.

Funding for the exhibition and catalogue comes from the Art Mentor Foundation Lucerne, Blakemore Foundation, David Woods Kemper Memorial Foundation, E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Foundation, Joel and Lisa Alvord, Winnie and Michael Feng, Dorothy Tapper Goldman, the family of Earle Jen-Shyong Ho, James M. Kemper, Jr., Martha Sutherland and Barnaby Conrad III, and Gilbert and Stephanie Zuellig. Production of the catalogue was further supported by Marilyn J. Stokstad and Jacqueline B. and Alan L. Stuart. All works but two are loans from the Chu-tsing Li Collection. We thank B and Teri Li for the loan of Wang Jiqian’s Landscape of 1990 (catalogue number 4) and Lu Yanshao’s Springs and Rocks on Mount Yandang of 1979 (catalogue number 41).

Local sponsorship of this exhibition is made possible in part through the generosity of John and Heidi Niblack, the Gioconda and Joseph King Endowment for Exhibitions, the State of Florida, Department of State, Division of Cultural Affairs and the Florida Arts Council, and the National Endowment for the Arts.

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