Art/ Collection/ Art Object
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元 王蒙 素庵圖 軸
The Simple Retreat

Artist:
Wang Meng (Chinese, ca. 1308–1385)
Period:
Yuan dynasty (1271–1368)
Date:
ca. 1370
Culture:
China
Medium:
Hanging scroll; ink and color on paper
Dimensions:
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)
Classification:
Paintings
Credit Line:
Ex coll.: C. C. Wang Family, Gift of Oscar L. Tang Family, 2012
Accession Number:
2012.526.2
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。

Artist’s seal

Wang Meng yin 王蒙印

Label Strip

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。

Collectors’ seals

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

Yue Zhongqi 岳鍾琪 (1686–1754)
Chen Yue Zhongqi gongcang 臣岳鍾琪恭藏

Qian Daxin 錢大昕 (1728–1804)
Daxin 大昕
Zhuting 竹汀

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
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