Folding fan mounted as an album leaf; ink and color on alum paper
6 15/16 x 20 3/16 in. (17.6 x 51.3 cm)
Gift of Robert Hatfield Ellsworth, in memory of La Ferne Hatfield Ellsworth, 1986
Not on view
Pu Ru, brother of the last emperor of China, Pu Yi, was the most talented painter among the princes of the Qing royal family. After the fall of the dynasty, Pu Ru took degrees in astronomy and biology in Berlin and then taught in the late 20s at the Imperial University in Tokyo. Returning to China, he taught at the National Art Academy in Peking, the art college within Peking University.
Pu Ru never departed from the refined painting style acquired in his early training, but his paintings were nonetheless distinctive and original. This flower fan with its delicate, tightly controlled brushwork and pretty colors reveals his genteel sensibilities, as do the well-crafted poems in the old style, both of which refer to pure worlds of unsullied beauty.
Signature: Xinyu Undated
Artist's inscription: two poems in gufeng style:
1. A fine tree grows in this virgin land, Almost touching the clouds in the cold sky. The tree [in the moon] seems to swirl. Pure winds [blow] in the Palace of the Immortals. The sun sets into the misty sea. The floating clouds resemble a rainbow. Roots of frost support the pure world, Where the energies of life are endless. Not like the mulberry on the riverside, Always changing with the season. Poem written at the Guanghua Temple gathering.
2. The square pond lies in a pure place. The view is more beautiful in early autumn. Reeds are as white as snow. The setting sun hangs over the river. Weeping willows bend toward the riverbank. The hibiscus spreads by the fragrant water. The river of Caoyun has flowed since ancient times. Today it still runs to the east. Look at the trees and the clouds in the sky. Their shadows move on the water. It is difficult to get into Paradise. When ascending all sorts of feelings well up in one's heart. Xinyu wrote this poem at Jinlingtang.
Artist's seals: 1. Pu Ru (square, white characters) 2. Xinyu (square, red characters) 3. Bamboo light (round, red characters)
Marking: Collectors' seals: Robert Hatfield Ellsworth Collection
Robert H. Ellsworth , New York (until 1986; donated to MMA)
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.
Fort Worth. Kimbell Art Museum. "Style and Expressionism: Modern Chinese Painting," November 4, 1989–January 14, 1990.