Image: 53 3/4 x 17 5/8 in. (136.5 x 44.8 cm)
Overall with mounting: 101 1/4 x 24 3/4 in. (257.2 x 62.9 cm)
Overall with knobs: 101 1/4 x 28 11/16 in. (257.2 x 72.9 cm)
Ex coll.: C. C. Wang Family, Gift of Oscar L. Tang Family, 2012
Not on view
Wang Meng depicted scholars in their retreats, creating imaginary portraits that capture not the physical likeness of a person or place but rather an interior world of shared associations and ideals. He presented the master of Simple Retreat as a gentleman recluse. Seated at the front gate of a rustic hermitage, he is shown holding a magic fungus, as a servant and two deer approach from the woods. In the courtyard, another servant offers a sprig of herbs to a crane. The auspicious Daoist imagery of fungus, crane, and deer as well as the archaic simplicity of the figures and dwelling evokes a dreamlike vision of paradise.
In creating this visionary world, Wang transformed the monumental landscape imagery of the tenth-century master Dong Yuan. Rocks and trees, animated with fluttering texture strokes, dots, color washes, and daubs of bright mineral pigment, pulse with a calligraphic energy barely contained within the traditional landscape structure. Encircled by this energized mountainscape, the retreat becomes a reservoir of calm at the vortex of a world whose dynamic configurations embody nature's creative potential but may also suggest the ever-shifting terrain of political power.
Inscription: Artist’s inscription and signature (1 column in seal script, 2 columns in standard script)
Simple Retreat The Woodcutter of the Yellow Crane Mountain, Wang Meng, painted this for the lofty scholar of the Simple Retreat. 《素庵圖》 黃鶴山樵王蒙為素庵高士畫。
Wang Meng yin 王蒙印
Unidentified artist, 1 column in semi-cursive script, undated:
The Mountain Woodcutter’s [Wang Meng's] Simple Retreat, on paper, a supreme work of the divine class. Recorded by Boheng. 山樵 《素庵圖》 軸，紙本，無上神品。 伯珩記。
Luo Feng 羅鳳 (1465–after 1536) Yingang Luo Feng tuji 印岡羅鳳圖籍
He Liangjun 何良俊 (1506–1573) Qingsen Ge shuhua yin 清森閣書畫印 He shi Yuanlang 何氏元朗
He Yuanyu 何瑗玉 (2nd half of 19th c.) Qu An shending zhenji 蘧盦審定真蹟
Wang Jiqian 王季遷 (C.C. Wang, 1907-2003) Wang shi Jiqian zhencang zhi yin 王氏季遷珍藏之印
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "The New Chinese Galleries: An Inaugural Installation," 1997.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "The Artist as Collector: Masterpieces of Chinese Painting from the C.C.Wang Family Collection," September 2, 1999–January 9, 2000.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "The World of Scholars' Rocks: Gardens, Studios, and Paintings," February 1, 2000–August 20, 2000.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Cultivated Landscapes: Reflections of Nature in Chinese Painting with Selections from the Collection of Marie-Hélène and Guy Weill," September 10, 2002–February 9, 2003.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Chinese Painting, Masterpieces from the Permanent Collection," August 28, 2004–February 20, 2005.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Journeys: Mapping the Earth and Mind in Chinese Art," February 10, 2007–August 26, 2007.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Anatomy of a Masterpiece: How to Read Chinese Paintings," March 1, 2008–August 10, 2008.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Landscapes Clear and Radiant: The Art of Wang Hui (1632–1717)," September 9, 2008–January 4, 2009.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "The Yuan Revolution: Art and Dynastic Change," August 21, 2010–January 9, 2011.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Chinese Gardens: Pavilions, Studios, Retreats," August 18, 2012–January 6, 2013.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Masterpieces of Chinese Painting from the Metropolitan Collection II," May 7, 2016–October 11, 2016.