Establishing reputation : exhibitions of prominent Chinese painters in Britain, 1935-1980
Chinese Painting since 1900: Scholarship, Exhibitions and Collections
Ashmolean Museum of Art and Archaeology
In the early 1930s, artists, scholars and diplomats from China introduced the new subject of modern Chinese painting to British audiences through travelling exhibitions. The pioneering Exhibition of Modern Chinese Painting, held under the auspices of the China Association and the China Society, at the New Burlington Galleries in London in 1935, gave the British public a first glimpse of the development of Chinese painting in Republican China. Between 1943 and 1945, another Exhibition of Modern Chinese Paintings organised by the British Council in collaboration with the Chinese Ministry of Information, further promoted appreciation of twentieth-century Chinese painting amongst wider audiences throughout Britain. Just as private collectors were attracted to expand their collections with modern Chinese art, galleries and museums in England became more enthusiastic about acquiring and exhibiting works by notable Chinese painters in the 1950s and subsequent decades.
This paper throws light on the early history of exhibiting modern Chinese painting in Britain. It examines the role of governments, museums and galleries in promoting an appreciation and study of this new subject between 1935 and 1980. Using data analysis of exhibitions of prominent Chinese painters, including Qi Baishi (1864-1957), Zhang Daqian (1899-1983), Fu Baoshi (1904- 1965), Fang Zhaoling (1914-2006) and Lui Shou Kwan (1919-1975), I will investigate the contribution of individual curators, gallerists, dealers and scholars in establishing the reputation of twentieth-century Chinese artists through exhibitions and publications.
Huang, Y.-L. M. (2016, October). Establishing reputation: exhibitions of prominent Chinese painters in Britain, 1935-1980. Paper presented at Chinese Painting since 1900: Scholarship, Exhibitions and Collections, Oxford.