Gift of Robert Hatfield Ellsworth, in memory of La Ferne Hatfield Ellsworth, 1986
Not on view
The youthful Fu Baoshi, fiercely idealistic and proud, often created images of unrecognized virtue, a theme that found its earliest expression in the poetry of Qu Yuan (343-278 B.C.), a loyal minister of the Chu kingdom who drowned himself in a tributary of the Xiang River in response to the false slander of his enemies.
Here, Fu was inspired by verses from a cycle of poems entitled the Nine Songs that is traditionally attributed to Qu Yuan. The Xiang River, a major tributary of the Yangzi that ran through the state of Chu, was known to harbor a goddess in its depths. She surfaced and enchanted the poet, who swore to make her his bride. The moment of enchantment depicted by Fu is described by the poet::
The Child of God, descending the northern bank,Turns on me her eyes that are dark with longing.Gently the wind of autumn whispers; On the waves of Dongting Lake the leaves are falling.
(David Hawkes, trans., Ch'u Tz'u: The Songs of the South [Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1959], p. 38)
Signature: Baoshi Dated: three days before the summer of 1947
Artist's inscriptions: 1. A squint with anxiety 2. Dedicated to Mrs. Hu Pinde and Mr. Ji Yema; end of 1950; Baoshi, writing in Nanking, two days before the return of this admirable couple to France.
Artist's seals: 1. Fu (square, red characters) 2. Seal of Fu Baoshi (square, white characters)
Marking: Collectors' seals: Robert Hatfield Ellsworth
Robert Hatfield Ellsworth , New York, until 1986; donated to MMA
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.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "The New Chinese Galleries: An Inaugural Installation," 1997.
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. "Chinese Painting, Masterpieces from the Permanent Collection," August 28, 2004–February 20, 2005.