Exhibition marking Wu Guanzhong's 100th birthday opens in Beijing
Updated 18:39, 26-Apr-2019
By Li Qiong
02:36

For many, Wu Guanzhong was China's most important painter of the 20th century. The late artist was a master at melting the merits of Chinese and Western art. With this year marking his 100th birthday, the National Art Museum of China and Tsinghua University have paid tribute to him by co-hosting the Wu Guanzhong Works Exhibition.

The works by Wu Guanzhong are in high demand in the art market, often appearing at auctions and selling for high prices. Through his outstanding creativity, many believe Wu was behind the contemporary transformation of Chinese painting.

During the first half of the 20th century, there was a boom in the number of people studying abroad. Thousands of young people mainly headed for Europe, Japan and North America, with the hope that, when they returned, they could move China forward. Wu Guanzhong was one of them.

                     "A happy dream" by Wu Guanzhong /CGTN photo

                     "A happy dream" by Wu Guanzhong /CGTN photo

Three years in Paris, between 1947 and 1950, had a tremendous influence on Wu. He was inspired by the works of Henri Matisse, Paul Cézanne, and Vincent van Gogh in particular. It's often said Wu tried to fuse the sense of color and composition from the Western oil painting with a spirit of Chinese ink painting.

Wu Weishan, Director of the National Art Museum said, "Wu Guanzhong identified the essence of the Western visual art revolution in the 20th century, which means he became an expert of abstract art. Meanwhile, he combined it with typical Chinese ink painting style. His works are very much based on real life."

"Beside the Jiangling River" by Wu Guanzhong /CGTN photo

"Beside the Jiangling River" by Wu Guanzhong /CGTN photo

Wu was born in Yixing, a picturesque city in East China. Its unique scenery, landscapes, architecture and people are frequently observed in his paintings. Wu was keen on the formal beauty that is composed in points, lines, plains, and vivid colors. "I like Wu Guanzhong's paintings.” said one visitor. “Many of his art pieces include the beautiful scenery of his hometown, a city with mountains, water, and plains. I also like his abstract paintings that were created in his later years. That's a rare art style for artists to turn to when they are in their 70s and older."

The exhibition honoring the man who was often referred to as “the artist of the people” runs through May 5 at the National Art Museum.

(Cover: "Shakespeare's hometown" by Wu Guanzhong /CGTN photo)