Charging Yak

Wu Zuoren Chinese

Not on view

Wu Zuoren studied Western art techniques and methods with Xu Beihong in Shanghai before going to Europe in 1930. He studied at the École des Beaux Arts, Paris, and under Alfred Bastien at the Académie Royale in Brussels. Wu mastered charcoal sketching and oil painting for making realistic anatomical studies but came to view these techniques as merely preliminary steps toward achieving a seemingly spontaneous style using Chinese ink and paper.

Returning to China in 1935, Wu taught under Xu Beihong at Nanjing Central University and followed the university to Chongqing during the war. In 1943 he began traveling in the Tibetan plateau and Qinghai region, living with herdsmen while painting yaks and camel caravans on the vast highland plains. After 1949 Wu's sympathetic portrayals of minority peoples became consonant with the political agenda: to broaden the appeal of art, address the lives of the common folk, and confirm a nationalistic spirit.

Charging Yak, Wu Zuoren (Chinese, 1908–1997), Album leaf; ink and color on paper, China

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