Folding fan mounted as an album leaf; ink and color on alum paper
7 1/2 x 21 7/16 in. (19.1 x 54.5 cm)
Gift of Robert Hatfield Ellsworth, in memory of La Ferne Hatfield Ellsworth, 1986
Not on view
In literati style, Chen has combined word and image to create a whole greater than the sum of its parts. His subject is the bramble rose with "thorns like the teeth of a saw": its image is picked out in staccato brushwork and its qualities are noted in Chen's tight hand. His advice to gardeners is:
Growing at the side of the path, They often catch your clothes. Border them with fence and grass And you easily pass among them.
[Trans. adapted from Ellsworth et al, Later Chinese Painting]
There are many types of rose. The family is the same but the names differ. They are difficult to pick when in bloom. The thorn is like the tooth of a saw. The branch of the white rose is long, The red is heavy with fragrance. Growing at the side of the path, They often catch your clothes. Border them with fence and grass And you can walk through them easily. Perhaps even in the Golden Valley Garden of the Shi Family There was not such an elegant atmosphere.
Marking: Collectors' seals: Robert Hatfield Ellsworth Collection
Robert H. 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.
Fort Worth. Kimbell Art Museum. "Style and Expressionism: Modern Chinese Painting," November 4, 1989–January 14, 1990.