Gift of Robert Hatfield Ellsworth, in memory of La Ferne Hatfield Ellsworth, 1986
Not on view
Having openly criticized the Gang of Four in 1969, Shi Lu took refuge in the wilderness near Xi'an. After a year he sought asylum in the hospital where he had been treated earlier for schizophrenia and alcoholism. In the early 1970s his compositions were distilled to a new clarity. His highly individual technique of pushing the brush like a carver's tool became more expressive. He repeatedly found inspiration in China's sacred western peak Mount Hua, whose name is synonymous with the enduring character of both the landscape and the nation. The theme of Shi Lu's poem is noble spirits persevering in the face of adversity: I love the many pines on Mount Hua, Tall, noble, and dignified, Their trunks climbing skyward to compete with the sun and moon. Weathering the bitter winds, Shaking their branches, they reach for the border of heaven. Bestride blue dragons, they hold their heads aloft. Lifting the clouds they stand. Ceaselessly they push against the sky. (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], pp. 234-37)
Inscription: Artist’s inscription and signature (2 columns in semi-cursive script)
An Siyuan 安思遠 (Robert Hatfield Ellsworth, 1929–2014) 安思遠藏
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Nineteenth and Twentieth Century Painting: Selections from the Robert H. Ellsworth Collection," February 2, 1988–September 25, 1988.
Johnson Gallery, Middlebury College. "Spirit and Nature: Visions of Interdependence," September 9, 1990–November 4, 1990.
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.
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. "Secular and Sacred: Scholars, Deities, and Immortals in Chinese Art," September 10, 2005–January 8, 2006.