Wine Jar and Melon

Guo Dawei Chinese

Not on view

Born into a family of artists in Beijing, Guo Dawei studied painting under Qi Baishi (1864–1957) for three years in his youth, and their bond lasted a lifetime. Since Guo painted in the same abbreviated, expressive style as his mentor, his works are often mistaken for Qi's.

Guo Dawei painted this scroll for Lin Yutang's daughter Taiyi and her husband Li Ming (Richard Lai) in the winter of 1959 when they were all visiting London. It demonstrates the visual impact of Guo's vigorous brushwork and bold use of color. He emphasized the qualities of weightiness and enormity in art, which this painting embodies with its sense of mass and architectonic structure.

Although Guo Dawei came to the United States to study Western art in 1954, through the 1980s he remained committed to maintaining the purity of Chinese traditions. The abstract forms and the unnatural color of the melon in this painting, however, suggest that he was keenly aware of trends in Western modernist art.

Wine Jar and Melon, Guo Dawei (Chinese, 1919–2003), Hanging scroll; ink and color on paper, China

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