Orchid and Rock

Shi Lu Chinese

Not on view

This fine painting represents the triumph of modern Chinese painting over both the deadwood of orthodoxy and infatuations with the exotic that would have severed it from its cultural roots. The artist's painting, calligraphy and seal are individual, fresh and nourished by tradition. Shi Lu took the surname Shi because of his admiration for Shitao, the 17th century monk-painter whose style is invoked in the orchid and rock. The calligraphy of Shi Lu's signature, with its display of resistance as brush, paper and the artist's will engage, sums up the fascination among 19th and 20th century intellectuals for carved scripts. The complete circle from seals to carved scripts to painting that transpired in the 19th and 20th centuries is reenacted in his highly graphic seal, which is not an impression, but a painted image.

Orchid and Rock, Shi Lu (Chinese, 1919–1982), Hanging scroll; ink and color on paper, China

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