Image: 45 1/4 x 21 1/2 in. (114.9 x 54.6 cm)
Overall with mounting: 76 x 27 1/2 in. (193 x 69.9 cm)
Overall with knobs: 76 x 31 3/4 in. (193 x 80.6 cm)
Bequest of John M. Crawford Jr., 1988
Not on view
At the age of fifty-four Gao Fenghan lost the use of his right hand. Painfully retraining himself to write and paint with his left hand, he came to prize the naive awkwardness of his left-handed brushwork. He lived in a Buddhist monastery in Yangzhou for four years, became close friends with several of the so-called Eight Eccentrics of Yangzhou, then retired to his hometown in Shandong Province in 1741. Chrysanthemums by a Rock is a dashing performance of Gao's mature years. Although done in his highly expressive left-handed style, his vigorous wet brushwork is a direct outgrowth of the lush exuberant flower paintings of Shitao (1642–1707), who lived in Yangzhou for the last twelve years of his life. Gao's calligraphy is dynamically integrated with his painting. Filling in the leftover space, the robust rhythms of the writing seem a natural companion to the flowers and rock.
Signature: Inscribed, signed, undated, three artist's seals
Inscription: Artist’s inscription and signature (7 columns in cursive script)
Gu Luofu 顧洛阜 (John M. Crawford, Jr., 1913–1988) 漢光閣 顧洛阜
New York. China House Gallery. "The Eccentric Painters of Yangzhou," October 13, 1990–December 15, 1990.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Text and Image: The Interaction of Painting, Poetry, and Calligraphy," January 23, 1999–August 16, 1999.
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. "A Millennium of Chinese Painting: Masterpieces from the Permanent Collection," September 8, 2001–January 13, 2002.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "When the Manchus Ruled China: Painting under the Qing Dynasty (1644–1911)," February 2, 2002–August 18, 2002.