Mastering the Art of Chinese Painting: Xie Zhiliu (1910–1997)

February 6–August 1, 2010

From Nature to Art: The Final Years

This gallery in the exhibition highlights the work of Xie Zhiliu's (1910–1997) later years, during which he integrated naturalism and stylization to great effect. The display contrasts an elegant series of monochrome outline drawings of lotus leaves and blossoms with an album of brilliantly colored, finished lotus paintings from 1993. A parallel comparison is made between an early set of landscape sketches and an album of paintings inspired by Yosemite National Park, which the artist made with his wife, the painter Chen Peiqiu (b. 1923), when they traveled there in 1993–94.

In his late years, Xie developed a new painting method that involved the generous application of both monochrome and colored washes. He introduced bright blue and green hues to his palette, creating lush, dense compositions in which outlined motifs are set off by vivid washes. In contrast to the meticulously executed style of his earlier paintings, these images are looser, appearing almost unfinished. The two albums, both made in the 1990s, reflect Xie's distinctive personal style, developed after decades of exploring the entire canon of Chinese art.