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Qi Baishi: Master of Modern Chinese Painting

Qi Baishi: Master of Modern Chinese Painting / Toyokan Room 8   October 30, 2018 (Tue) - December 25, 2018 (Tue)

  
Chickens and Chrysanthemum (detail), By Qi Baishi (Lent by Beijing Fine Art Academy)

In commemoration of the 40th anniversary of the Treaty of Peace and Friendship between Japan and China, this exhibition presents for the first time in Japan the life and art of Qi Baishi (1864–1957) – a celebrated master of modern Chinese painting – through his work in the collection of the Beijing Fine Arts Academy. Baishi is the most renowned and appreciated artist in China today, while the Beijing Fine Arts Academy, where he served as the first honorary director, is China’s oldest and largest modern fine arts academy. It is also an institution recognized for its extensive collection of Baishi’s masterpieces.
It gives us great pleasure to hold this large-scale exhibition, bringing Baishi’s work from overseas to celebrate the continuation of amicable relations between Japan and China. Moreover, we hope this exhibition will serve to further promote mutual understanding between our two nations. Lastly, we wish to express our deepest gratitude to the Beijing Fine Arts Academy, and to all of the individuals and institutions who provided their kind assistance and cooperation for this exhibition.

 

About the Exhibitions and Highlights

General Information

中文 特别企划详细网页

Highlights of the Exhibition

 

  Flowers and Trees: Qi Baishi’s Grand Beginnings

While working as a craftsman, Qi Baishi delighted his patrons by coming up with new patterns for traditional motifs like plum blossoms, orchids, bamboo, and chrysanthemums. Later, he continued to hone his technique through tireless efforts such as studying painting manuals, copying paintings from bygone eras, and sketching from nature. As a result, his flowers and trees became even more stunning with bright colors, vibrant splashes of ink, and fluid brushwork.
 

延年酒図


Liquor for Longevity

By Qi Baishi
20th century
Lent by Beijing Fine Art Academy
[On exhibit November 27–December 25, 2018]
 

 

 

  Birds and Animals: Captivating Gazes

After boldly filling in flowers and trees, Qi Baishi would add life to his scenes with birds such as ducks, chickens, and hawks. A particularly striking aspect of these birds is their expressive eyes. Baishi learned the importance of depicting birds with a sense of dynamism from his mentor, Hu Qinyuan. This teaching is reflected in his birds’ human-like gazes.

 

菊花群鶏図
Chickens and Chrysanthemum
By Qi Baishi
20th century
Lent by Beijing Fine Art Academy
[On exhibit November 27–December 25, 2018]

 
 

 

 

  Insects: Precise Depictions with Matchless Technique

Qi Baishi is said to have enjoyed closely observing insects and capturing their forms. Although he tends to be thought of as an artist who favored simpler representations in his works, Baishi’s intricate depictions of insects astonish with their precise grasp of fine details such as antennas and the patterns of legs and wings. His use of empty space in placing tiny insects on the page also showcases his artistic sensibilities.
 

工虫画冊(第一図:白花と鳳蛾)

Album of Insects in Gongbi style (Painting 1: Flowers and Swallowtail Moths)
By Qi Baishi
dated 1949
Lent by Beijing Fine Art Academy
[On exhibit October 30–November 25, 2018]

 
 

 

 

  Fish and Shrimp: Mastery of a Familiar Subject

Qi Baishi used subtle ink washes to produce many paintings depicting schools of fish, shrimp, crabs, and other aquatic life. Born in a farming village, Baishi is said to have familiarized himself with the ceaseless underwater gatherings and scatterings of these creatures as a young boy. His works expertly convey the continual movement and vitality of aquatic life.
 

蝦図


Shrimps

By Qi Baishi
20th century
Lent by Beijing Fine Art Academy
[On exhibit October 30–November 25, 2018]
 

 

 

  Landscapes: Figurative Art Born from Travels Far and Wide

After the age of forty, Qi Baishi had more opportunities to tour the country. While comparing the traditional representations of landscapes that he had learned from manuals and old paintings with real-life scenery, he grew to establish his own original style. Baishi’s landscape paintings are notable for their distinctive compositions, simple and vigorous brushstrokes, and vibrant, gorgeous colors.
 

借山図(第三図)
Landscapes (No. 3)
By Qi Baishi
dated 1910
Lent by Beijing Fine Art Academy
[On exhibit October 30–November 25, 2018]

 
 

 

 

  Gods and Human Figures: The Culmination of Qi Baishi’s Originality

Although Qi Baishi also produced realistic portraits and detailed paintings of beautiful women earlier in his career, he later grew to favor simpler forms based on robust lines. Baishi’s human depictions delight the eye with the exaggerated, almost comical figures born from his deft brushstrokes.

 

清平福来図

Good Fortune Comes in Peace

By Qi Baishi
20th century
Lent by Beijing Fine Art Academy
[On exhibit November 27–December 25, 2018]

 
 

 

 

  Calligraphy and Seals: Rich Aesthetics and Sensitivity

Qi Baishi developed an interest in seal carving at a young age, and also loved the calligraphy upon which it was based. After studying the carvings of the Zhe School (Xiling School) and Zhao Zhiqian, he later explored the seal scripts of the Qin dynasty to the Three Kingdoms period, establishing his own unique styles and chiseling techniques. Baishi’s seal carving is characterized by rigid, well-modulated thick and thin lines, simple shapes, and a seal composition that emphasizes the contrast between the red of the ink and the white of the paper. His bold, dynamic chiseling style also reflects his experience as a carpenter and joiner.
 

篆書四言聯

Couplet in Four-character Phrases in Seal Script

By Qi Baishi
dated 19451
Lent by Beijing Fine Art Academy
[On exhibit November 27–December 25, 2018]
 

 

「三百石印富翁」朱文印
Couplet in Four-character Phrases in Seal Script
By Qi Baishi
dated 19451
Lent by Beijing Fine Art Academy
[On exhibit October 30–November 25, 2018]
 

 

  Study: Origins of Creation

In Qi Baishi’s younger and poorer days, he is said to have borrowed picture books from acquaintances, and copied them by laying thin sheets of paper over each page and tracing the pictures with fine outlines. Later, he continued to accumulate sketches by carefully copying old paintings and drawing real-life scenery on his travels. These sketches could be considered the origins of Baishi’s creative work.
Although Baishi was with a non-academic family background, he began learning how to compose poems to serve as inscriptions on his paintings. Poetry eventually became one of his great pleasures. His artistry lives and breathes in the manuscripts of his poem anthologies and the journal in which he recorded his daily inspirations.
 

書斎の斉白石
 

 

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General Information

Period Tuesday, October 30–Tuesday, December 25, 2018
Venue Room 8, Toyokan, Tokyo National Museum (Ueno Park)
Hours 9:30-17:00; Fridays, Saturdays, October 31, and November 1: until 21:00
(Last entry 30 minutes before closing)
Closed Mondays (Except for Monday, December 24)
Admission These works can be viewed by paying the admission fee for regular exhibils.
Adults: 620 (520) yen
University students: 410 (310) yen
*  () indicates fees per person for groups of 20 or more.
* Admission is free for senior high / junior high / elementary school students and persons under 18 and over 70 years of age.(Please show proof of age when entering.)
*

Persons with dlsabilities and one person accompanying each are admitted free of charge.(Please show ID when entering.)

* The special exhibitions Collaborative Exhibition Project between the Tokyo National Museum and the Philadelphia Museum of Art: Marcel Duchamp and Japanese Art (Tuesday, October 2, 2018 - Sunday, December 9, 2018, Heiseikan Special Exhibition Galleries) and The Buddhist Sculptures of Daiho’onji, Kyoto: Masterpieces by Kaikei and Jokei (Tuesday, October 2, 2018 - Sunday, December 9, 2018, Heiseikan Special Exhibition Galleries), requir a separate admission fees.
* Free admission to the regular exhibitions on December 23 to 25, 2018. (excluding special exhibitions)
Access 10 minutes' walk from JR Ueno Station (Park exit) and Uguisudani Station
15 minutes' walk from Keisei Ueno Station, Tokyo Metro Ueno Station and Tokyo Metro Nezu Station
Organizers Tokyo National Museum, The Beijing Fine Arts Academy, The Asahi Shimbun
With the Support of Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan, Agency for Cultural Affairs, Embassy of The People's Republic of China in Japan, Ministry of Culture and Tourism of the People's Republic of China, Beijing Municipal Bureau of Culture, Beijing Municipal Bureau of Culture
General Inquiries 03-5777-8600  (Hello Dial)