Instilling a Sense of Belonging: Wu Guanzhong

 

In traditional Chinese culture, the ancient ideals of truth, beauty and kindness have guided generations of Chinese civilization, including Wu Guanzhong. As mentioned in our previous article, Wu found beauty and stillness in nature - not only in landscapes but also the simplicity of the Chinese countryside - interacting with those living there and being humbled by their heart and soul.

 

In his childhood, Wu was encouraged to read, think and write often, much like a Chinese scholar. He was said to impart an eloquent expression and praised for his swiftness and depth of thought.

 

Photo: Sotheby's 

 

While Wu picked up oil painting during his studies in Paris, he continued working with ink on paper and ink on canvas. His identity as a Chinese artist was central to his work. Feeling homesick and a sense of patriotism for his motherland, Wu returned to China after 3 years in Paris.

  

Yulong Mountain under Moonlight © Wu Guanzhong

 

After the Cultural Revolution ended in 1976, Wu was able to truly flourish as an artist – his unique artistic style of blending Western abstract elements and colorful aesthetics with traditional Chinese form and subjects became widely recognized.

 

"I love the best aspects of the Chinese tradition, but I am not a slave to tradition."

 

Lotus Flowers I, 1974 © Wu Guanzhong

  

The late 1980s through 1990s marked a turning point in China’s history. China was in the process of economic reform. With a new liberation, Wu was able to fully express himself in his art, painting his strongest works during this period. By modernizing traditional subjects in a contemporary context, Wu’s art proves that Chinese motifs like mountain landscapes, lotus ponds and village scenes have withstood the test of time.

 

 

Exploring Art with Wu Guanzhong

 

Read more about Wu Guanzhong and Nature