Art/ Collection/ Art Object
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清 王時敏 仿黃公望山水圖 軸 絹本
Landscape in the style of Huang Gongwang

Artist:
Wang Shimin (Chinese, 1592–1680)
Period:
Qing dynasty (1644–1911)
Date:
dated 1666
Culture:
China
Medium:
Hanging scroll; ink on paper
Dimensions:
Image: 53 x 22 1/4 in. (134.6 x 56.5 cm) Overall with mounting: 87 3/4 x 28 1/4 in. (222.9 x 71.8 cm) Overall with knobs: 87 3/4 x 31 in. (222.9 x 78.7 cm)
Classification:
Paintings
Credit Line:
Ex coll.: C. C. Wang Family, Gift of Douglas Dillon, 1980
Accession Number:
1980.426.2
Not on view
This major work represents the culmination of Wang Shimin’s lifelong study of the paintings of Huang Gongwang (1269–1354). Reducing Huang’s calligraphic style to a graphic formula—rock forms filled with straight, parallel, “hemp-fiber” texture strokes and layers of horizontal dots—Wang Shimin built his kinetic brush patterns into rising and falling, opening and closing, “breath-force” (qishi) movements. Individual texture strokes and foliage dots crisscross, multiplying and expanding until the entire composition turns into a great flowing pattern of undulating forces and counterforces that suggests nature’s boundless energy and growth.

Wang Shimin was the eldest of the “Four Wangs”—the others being Wang Jian (1598–1677), Wang Hui (1632–1717), and Wang Yuanqi (1642–1715). They were the leaders of the Orthodox school of painting in the early Qing period.
Inscription: Artist’s inscription and signature (26 columns in standard script)

Among the students who were listed with my grandfather Wensu on the honors list (of the jinshi examinations) of the year renxu [1562]. Very few of their descendants could write except for Mr. Youzhu of Songling, who alone deserved merit in letters and was famous in Jiangzuo [i.e. in Zhejiang and Jiangsu]. I am honored to be in his company and I admire him very much. When he was young he wandered and did not settle, and when he became older he retired to the country where there was no way for me to make his acquaintance. In mid-autumn of the year gengzi [1660], because the monk Lingyan moved to Huqiu in [Wu]xi, I had a chance to meet him at the abbot’s place. We grasped hands and spoke of the past with as much pleasure as if we had known each other all our lives. During our conversation, he asked me for one of my stupid paintings. There upon I promised this, but then because I was transferred several times, and calamities contributed to fill my breast with anxiety, and illnesses all collected and bore down upon me, I did not keep my promise for six years, not doing anything in reply. Recently he wrote again to urge me and moreover sent me a work by his father. Receiving his favors and generosity increased my shame yet more, and one day when the clouds lifted and my window was clear, I forced myself to wipe my eyes and wash away the dust, and applied myself to copying Zijiu’s [Huang Gongwang’s, 1269–1354] brush conception, making a small picture which I send, begging for correction. I laugh and am ashamed of this ugly thing; how can it be worthy to be presented for criticism? I remember that our ancestors were linked in the world of literature; at the best time they were as close as the mouth-pipe and the bamboo flute; they were of like mind as orchid and fragrant grass: how happy they were! Now of their heirs and grandsons there are only two of us left, both of us white-haired after grief, disturbance and parting, and an excess of successive calamities. We were predestined to meet again. By means of brush and ink we express the thoughts of our hearts. How can this be accidental? Looking both at the times as they were then and as they are now, I cannot contain my sadness. In the year bingwu [1666], early in spring, the younger brother Wang Shimin recorded, at the age of seventy-five.[1]

先文肅壬戌榜中同門,其在吾郡子孫有聞於時能誦誼者盖鮮,惟松陵右朱先生隱摻文名,首冠江左。余辱附雁行之末,嚮往實深。顧壯時萍踪靡定,既老削影田廬,無繇識面。庚子中秋以靈巌和尚移錫虎丘,得邂逅於方丈,握手道故,歡若平生。語次索及拙畫,當即心許,乃以賦調繁急,灾祲頻仍,愁緒填膺,衰病併集,負諾責者六年未有以應。近復手書相促,兼以先人遺蹟見惠,珍奉手澤益媿。隆施晴窓,勉拭昏眸,亟滌塵研,倣子久筆意作小圖,寄呈博笑。自顧醜惡何足供法鍳?惟追溯先世聮鑣曲江,正逢盛際,塤箎叶契,蘭菃同心,抑何榮畅?今其裔孫如吾兩人者,皆以喪亂流離之後,白首叢殘之餘,猶得因緣宿誼,借筆墨以托心期,夫豈偶然。俛仰今昔,益不勝感慨云爾。丙午小春年家弟王時敏識,時年七十有五。

Artist's seals

Zhenji 真寄
Wang Shimin yin 王時敏印
Yanke 煙客

Collectors' seals

Wang Boyuan 王伯元 (late 19th c.)
Boyuan shending 伯元審定

Zhang Daqian 張大千 (1899–1983)
Nan bei dong xi zhiyou xiangsui wu bieli 南北東西只有相隨無別離
Dafeng Tang zhencang yin 大風堂珍藏印

Wang Jiqian 王季遷 (C.C. Wang, 1907–2003)
Wang Jiqian haiwai suojian mingji 王季遷海外所見名蹟

Mu Si 穆思 (Earl Morse, 1908–1988)
Mu Si zhencang 穆思珍藏
Mu Si shoucang mingji 穆思收藏名蹟


[1] Translation from Roderick Whitfield and Wen Fong, In Pursuit of Antiquity: Chinese Paintings of the Ming and Qing Dynasties from the Collection of Mr. and Mrs. Earl
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