Image: 58 x 31 1/2 in. (147.3 x 80 cm)
Overall with mounting: 100 3/8 x 39 3/8 in. (255 x 100 cm)
Overall with knobs: 100 3/8 x 43 in. (255 x 109.2 cm)
Gift of Robert Hatfield Ellsworth, in memory of La Ferne Hatfield Ellsworth, 1988
Not on view
Wu Changshuo adopted the "antiquarian epigrapher's taste" pioneered by Zhao Zhiqian (1829–1884): a deliberately naive, slightly awkward manner derived from the engravings on archaic stone monuments. Wu's favorite subjects were bold colorful images of flowers and rocks that found a ready market among Shanghai's new urban class. Spring Offerings presents popular emblems of long life and renewal appropriate for a New Year's greeting: lingzhi mushroom, narcissus, a garden rock, and the bright red berries of the nandina plant. It is not an image from nature, however, but an abstract arrangement that emphasizes epigraphic elements—round centered-tip brushwork, contrasts of form and blank space—in a simplified composition dominated by strong diagonal cross-movements. Wu's boldly brushed poem reads:
The narcissus is long-lived and the lingzhi mushroom never fades, At year's end their appearance consoles my loneliness. The gnarled rock, set down by Heaven, Is like the Kunlunnu tribesman who waits upon the [singing girl clad in] red silk.
Signature: "Anji Su Changshi in his 76th year" Dated: the 20th day of the 6th month, 1919
Poem, four lines in seven-character meter:
The narcissus is long-lived and the fungus never withers. This year-end scene consoles one's loneliness. Nature has placed an old rock just there. The barbarians serve the red silk.
Artist's seals: 1. Cangshi (square, red characters) 2. Seal of Wu Zongqing (square, white characters) 3. Seal of Chen Shuren (square, white characters)
Marking: Collectors' seals: 1. Seal of Chen Shuren (square, white characters) 2. RHE collection
Robert Hatfield Ellsworth , New York, 1988; donated to MMA
Fort Worth. Kimbell Art Museum. "Style and Expressionism: Modern Chinese Painting," November 4, 1989–January 14, 1990.
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. "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. "A Millennium of Chinese Painting: Masterpieces from the Permanent Collection," September 8, 2001–January 13, 2002.
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. "Art of the Brush: Chinese Painting and Calligraphy," March 12, 2005–August 14, 2005.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "The Four Seasons," January 28, 2006–August 13, 2006.