Cat and Butterfly

Xugu (Zhu Huairen) Chinese

Not on view

Zhu Xubai joined the Imperial Army in 1851, but finding that his sympathies lay with the Taiping, he deserted and became a monk, taking the name Xu Gu. Alienated and without roots, he traveled between Yangzhou, Suzhou and Shanghai selling his paintings. He had been trained in a portrait shop to paint the realistic ancestor images much in demand, but the majority of his paintings give little evidence of traditional training. His creativity lies in devising a light, fresh means of rendering the impression of things as they are seen.

Xu Gu has invoked the 18th century Yangzhou Eccentric Hua Yen's (1682–1765) humorous animal subjects, though he has not attempted Hua's technical virtuosity. Active viewing is required to fuse the dotted outline suggesting the cat's fur and the impressionistic strokes of his landscape also seen in this exhibition

Cat and Butterfly, Xugu (Zhu Huairen) (Chinese, 1823–1896), Hanging scroll; ink and color on paper, China

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