Image: 12 1/4 x 46 1/2 in. (31.1 x 118.1 cm)
Overall with mounting: 14 1/4 x 331 in. (36.2 x 840.7 cm)
Gift of Robert Hatfield Ellsworth, in memory of La Ferne Hatfield Ellsworth, 1986
Not on view
Trained in traditional-style landscape painting, Lu Yanshao found no place for his elitist art after the Communist Liberation in 1949 and was forced to work in a government shop in Shanghai that made cartoons and comic strips. Labeled a rightist during the Cultural Revolution, Lu was denied the right to paint from 1968 to 1978.
This painting was done the year that the charges against Lu were revoked. Recording the pleasures of travel, it celebrates the strangely contorted ever-greens growing around two of the scenic temples near Beijing. The animated trees, unrestrained by the walled courtyard, reach beyond the confines of the temple precinct to interact with their counter-parts in the landscape beyond. The artist's inscription reads:
In the spring of 1978, I was in the capital and traveled to the temples Tanzhe and Jietai. Ancient pines and junipers rose in a strange and archaic manner, something I had never seen before. After I returned to the south, comrade Chen Yi asked about the sights in the capital, so I painted this to win his smile.
(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], p. 254)
Signature: Lu Yanshao Dated August 1978
Artist's inscription: In the spring of 1978, I was in Peking and traveled to the temples Tanzhe and Jietai. The pines and junipers posture in a strange and archaic manner. They are unique. In my life, I have never seen better. After I went back to the South, Chenyi asked me about the highlights of Peking. I painted this picture for one of his smiles.
Artist's seals: 1. Lu Yanshao (square, white characters) 2. Wanruo (square, red characters) 3. Jiading (rectangular, red characters) 4. Muru Studio (square, red characters)
Marking: Collectors' seals: Robert Hatfield Ellsworth
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. "Between Two Cultures: A Selection of Nineteenth and Twentieth Century Chinese Paintings from the Robert H. Ellsworth Collection," January 30, 2001–August 19, 2001.