Exhibition on the late self-taught painter Chen Zizhuang reveals his unrestrained spirit, Lin Qi reports.
Flowers and plants are among the most favored motifs that have been revisited by painters in the past and present, at home and abroad.
Chen Zizhuang (1913-76), a late artist of classic Chinese painting, didn't care for the flowers and plants that thrived in courtyards and houses, as they had been cultivated by people rather than growing in a natural environment.
With his brushstroke, Chen zealously hailed plants growing in mountains and valleys and by waters, and which enjoyed the pleasures and embraced the hardships of nature. In them he sensed vigor and sensitivity.
When he received a commission from a museum in Chengdu, Sichuan province, in 1962, to make flora-themed paintings, Chen depicted begonias, pear flowers, daffodils and hibiscuses springing in the wild. This poetic collection of four screen paintings is regarded as a representative work in Chen's oeuvre.
The artworks are in the collection of the Yang Sheng'an Museum in Xindu, Chengdu, and now on show at Wonderland in Mind, a research exhibition on Chen's art and life at the Art Museum of the Beijing Fine Art Academy that runs through to Feb 26.