Gift of Robert Hatfield Ellsworth, in memory of La Ferne Hatfield Ellsworth, 1986
Not on view
This image, dated to the first day of the Chinese New Year in 1943, pays homage to Feng's mentor, Hongyi, who died in 1942. Hongyi, whose secular name was Li Shutong, was the earliest Chinese artist to receive training in Western painting in Japan and one of the pioneers in modern art education. Li was also the first Chinese artist to explore modern woodcut techniques, introducing graphics into Chinese newspapers and stressing the importance of teaching commercial art. Disillusioned by the corruption and chaos he saw around him, Li became a Buddhist monk in 1918. Feng's portrait is drawn in a starkly simple outline style in which the lines function descriptively rather than calligraphically. Hongyi is shown looking straight at the viewer, his openness and goodness reflected in his warm smile and relaxed pose.
Signature: The student Feng Zikai painted this with respect Dated 1943
Artist's seals: 1. Cartoon by Zikai (square, red characters) 2. Fortuitous painting of Yuanyuan Studio (oval, red characters)
Marking: Collectors' seals: Robert Hatfield Ellsworth