Gift of Robert Hatfield Ellsworth, in memory of La Ferne Hatfield Ellsworth, 1986
Not on view
Fu Baoshi did not devote himself fully to painting until after 1939, when he settled in the wartime capital of Chongqing, Sichuan. There, poverty-stricken and struggling to support a growing family, he painted with a fierce determination to succeed. Often, he created images of himself in the guise of tragic historical figures who were not adequately appreciated during their lifetime. In this work, dating to the early 1940s, he depicts himself lost in a thick grove of trees and bamboo. His inscription quotes lines from a poem by Du Fu (712–770):
Pity that the young pine trees cannot grow a thousand feet tall, So let the thicket of bamboo be cut down by the tens of thousands.
(Wen Fong, trans., Between Two Cultures: Late-Nineteenth- and Early-Twentieth-Century Chinese Paintings from the Robert H. Ellsworth Collection in The Metropolitan Museum of Art [New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2001], p. 121)
Signature: Baoshi Undated
Artist's inscription: I regret the slow growth of the pine, which should be a thousand feet high. The shrub bamboo should be cut by the tens of thousands.
Artist's seals: 1. Fu (round, red characters) 2. Splashed ink (rectangular, red characters)
Marking: Collectors' seals: Robert Hatfield Ellsworth
Robert H. Ellsworth , New York (until 1986; donated to MMA)
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Text and Image: The Interaction of Painting, Poetry, and Calligraphy," January 23, 1999–August 16, 1999.
New York. China Institute in America. "The Chinese Painter as Poet," September 14, 2000–December 10, 2000.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Between Two Cultures: A Selection of Nineteenth and Twentieth Century Chinese Paintings from the Robert H. Ellsworth Collection," January 30, 2001–August 19, 2001.