This fall, visitors to the Denver Art Museum
(DAM) will get a rare look inside Chinas artistic history through two special exhibitions. Xu Beihong: Pioneer of Modern Chinese Painting and Threads of Heaven: Silken Legacy of Chinas Last Dynasty explore this mysterious and ceremonial country during two time periodsthe latter years of the Qing Dynasty (16441912), and the subsequent formation of the Republic of China during the early to middle 20th century.
Xu Beihong offers a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see the full spectrum of work by the 20th century Chinese artist who is widely recognized as the father of modern Chinese painting. One of the first Chinese artists to study in Europe, Xu revolutionized painting in China by drawing influence from both the East and West. This exhibition will feature approximately 60 works from the Xu Beihong Memorial Museum, the majority of which have never before been on view in the United States.
Threads of Heaven illustrates the court and culture of the Qing Dynasty and the final days of empire in China through more than 100 dazzling pieces ranging from court robes to intricately embroidered accessories to pictorial hangings. The Denver Art Museum is the only venue for both exhibitions, on view October 30, 2011 through January 29, 2012.
We want DAM visitors to get a special look into one of the worlds most intriguing cultures, said Christoph Heinrich, Frederick and Jan Mayer Director. Both exhibitions reveal a slice of time in Chinas history from the tumultuous final decades of the Qing Dynasty, to the birth of modern painting in China through Xu Beihongs artistic career.
Xu Beihong: Pioneer of Modern Chinese Painting
Xu Beihong was a revolutionary painter in his day, said Ronald Otsuka, Joseph de Heer Curator of Asian art. Xus work reveals a lot about what was going on in China during his lifetime and reflects the artists desire to merge European and Chinese painting traditions.
Xu Beihong: Pioneer of Modern Chinese Painting, organized by the Denver Art Museum, will be the first comprehensive exhibition in the United States to focus on his full range of artwork. Xu not only influenced art within his own country, he helped introduce this new style of art to the world. One of the first Chinese artists to study in Europe, Xu advocated for the integration of Western techniques into traditional styles in order to improve Chinese painting. Through his efforts as a prominent artist, educator and reformer, he is credited with revolutionizing the nations arts institutions and reshaping international perceptions of Chinese painting. His work was exhibited widely throughout Asia and Europe and his influence is still felt today by many contemporary Chinese artists.
DAMs landmark exhibition will include approximately 60 works from Chinas Xu Beihong Memorial Museum, including ink paintings, oil paintings, drawings, pastels and calligraphy. The works, most of which have never before been on view in the United States, trace the full arc of Xus careerfrom early landscape paintings and drawings created during his time in Europeto portraits of political leaders including Mao Zedong and Mohandas Gandhi to his iconic horse paintings.