Li Kuchan Chinese

Not on view

The balanced composition, shimmering palette, and lyrical rhythms of the birds' silhouettes in this work, dated two years after the end of the Cultural Revolution, convey contentment. Li Kuchan could once again celebrate the simple pleasures of life in his art, as his inscription suggests:

When I lived in Jiangnan, I kept some cormorants and I would watch them from morning to night chasing about the waves to catch fish in endlessly variable and indescribable ways. It was most enjoyable.

(Wen Fong, trans., Between Two Cultures: Late-Nineteenth- and Early-Twentieth-Century Chinese Paintings from the Robert H. Ellsworth Collection in The Metropolitan Museum of Art [New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2001], p. 229)

Cormorants, Li Kuchan (Chinese, 1898–1983), Handscroll; ink and color on paper, China

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