Art/ Collection/ Art Object

近代 紅荷圖 卷

Guo Dawei (Chinese, 1919–2003)
Republic period
ca. 1960–65
Horizontal panel; ink and color on paper
Image: 26 7/16 x 53 1/8 in. (67.2 x 135 cm)
Overall with rollers: 33 5/16 x 63 1/8 in. (84.6 x 160.4 cm)
Credit Line:
The Lin Yutang Family Collection, Gift of Richard M. Lai, Jill Lai Miller, and Larry C. Lai, in memory of Taiyi Lin Lai, 2005
Accession Number:
Not on view
Guo Dawei dedicated this painting to Lin Yutang and his wife. It chronicles the life cycle of the lotus. At the center is a flower in full bloom. To the right, two buds have just emerged, while a seed pod dips down between two not yet unfurled leaves. To the left, a pale leaf, tattered and drooping, sets off bare or broken stems. Although Guo painted lotus often, compositions with a distinct temporal dimension like this one are rare.

The distinctive pink color of the lotus—namely, "Western red" in Chinese—was first imported into China from Mexico in the early twentieth century and became widely used in traditional painting. The sinuous lotus stems cutting across the picture surface are calligraphic lines that create a shallow space through overlapping and contrasting tonality. This work demonstrates Guo's idea that the "space-consciousness" in Chinese painting, unlike that in western art, is "calligraphically created."
Signature: Artist's inscription and signature (1 column in running script)

Artist's seal
Guo Dawei

Artist's seal
郭大維 Guo Dawei

Inscription: Artist’s inscription and signature (1 column in semi-cursive script)[1]

For the enlightened inspection of [Lin] Yutang and his wife, painted by Dawei


Artist’s seal

Guo Dawei 郭大維

Collectors’ seal

Li Ming 黎明 (Richard M. Lai, 1920–2011) and Lin Taiyi 林太乙 (Taiyi Lin Lai, 1926–2003)
Li Lin 黎林

[1] Documentation from Shi-yee Liu, Straddling East and West: Lin Yutang, A Modern Literatus: The Lin Yutang Family Collection of Chinese Painting and Calligraphy, New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2007, no. 21, p. 77.
Richard M. Lai, Jill Lai Miller and Larry C. Lai , (until 2005; donated to MMA)
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Bridging East and West: The Chinese Diaspora and Lin Yutang," September 15, 2007–February 10, 2008.

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