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Along the Riverbank: Chinese Paintings from the C. C. Wang Family Collection

Along the Riverbank: Chinese Paintings from the C. C. Wang Family Collection

Hearn, Maxwell K., and Wen C. Fong
1999
174 pages
160 illustrations
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This publication celebrates the promised gift to The Metropolitan Museum of Art from the Oscar Tang family of twelve major works from the C. C. Wang Family Collection, one of the great private collections of Chinese old master paintings to be assembled in the twentieth century. Ranging in date from the tenth to the early eighteenth century, these works significantly extend the Museum's holdings and reveal those areas of Chinese painting of particular interest to Mr. Wang. An accomplished artist, Ch'i-Ch'ien Wang, a resident of New York City since 1949, began collecting paintings in Shanghai more than seventy years ago. Works from his collection, long known to Western scholars and connoisseurs, are now in many American public institutions and universities. The Metropolitan owns some sixty works formerly in this collection, the twelve presented here constituting the most recent addition to the Museum's holdings from this source. Along the Riverbank is published on the occasion of the exhibition "The Artist as Collector: Masterpieces of Chinese Paintings from the C. C. Wang Family Collection," which includes most of the works acquired by the Museum from Mr. Wang since 1973.

Among the twelve paintings presented here is the famed Riverbank, attributed to the tenth-century master Dong Yuan (active 950s–60s), one of the patriarchs of the scholarly Southern school of landscape painting. It is generally recognized as one of the rare extant paintings marking the inception of the monumental landscape tradition in China. An essay by Wen C. Fong presents an in-depth stylistic analysis and contextual history of the painting. A physical analysis of the work is also included.

An extended essay by Maxwell K. Hearn examines all twelve paintings. The major examples of landscape art include Simple Retreat, by the renowned scholar-artist Wang Meng (1308–1385), who drew inspiration from the vision of landscape created by Dong Yuan and other tenth-century painters. In addition to landscapes, the collection features several important figure paintings, including Palace Banquet, by an unknown Academy painter of the Southern Tang dynasty (967–75) and a long monochrome narrative by Zhao Cangyun, a late-thirteenth-century survivor of the Mongol conquest. The genre of flower-and-bird painting is represented by Mandarin Ducks and Hollyhocks, a pictorial metaphor of marital happiness by the leading early Ming academic master Lü Ji (active late 15th century), and by Two Eagles, a defiant symbol of political resistance by Bada Shanren (1616–1705), a member of the Ming royal house who lived through the occupation of China by the Manchus.

Met Art in Publication

Bamboo and rock, Deng Yu  Chinese, Hanging scroll; ink on paper, China
ca. 1360–67
Travelers among Streams and Mountains, Wu Li  Chinese, Hanging scroll; ink on paper, China
probably 1670s
Palace banquet, Unidentified artist Chinese, active late 10th–11th century, Hanging scroll; ink and color on silk, China
In the Palace, Unidentified artist Chinese, active early 12th century, Handscroll; ink and touches of color on silk, China
before 1140
Liu Chen and Ruan Zhao Entering the Tiantai Mountains, Zhao Cangyun  Chinese, Handscroll; ink on paper, China
Odes of the State of Bin, Unidentified artist, Handscroll; ink on paper, China
13th century
Crooked Pine, Wu Zhen  Chinese, Hanging scroll; ink on silk, China
dated 1335
Bamboo copied after Wen Tong, Ke Jiusi  Chinese, Hanging scroll; ink on silk, China
dated 1343
Rocky Landscape with Pines, Zhang Xun, Hanging scroll; ink on silk, China
before 1346
Twin Pines, Level Distance, Zhao Mengfu  Chinese, Handscroll; ink on paper, China
ca. 1310
Old Trees, Level Distance, Guo Xi  Chinese, Handscroll; ink and color on silk, China
ca. 1080
Traveling through Snow-Covered Mountains, Yao Yanqing (Tingmei)  Chinese, Hanging scroll; ink on silk, China
Simple Retreat, Wang Meng  Chinese, Hanging scroll; ink and color on paper, China
ca. 1370
Mandarin ducks and cotton rose hibiscus, Lü Ji  Chinese, Hanging scroll; ink and color on silk, China
late 15th century
Remonstrating with the emperor, Liu Jun  Chinese, Hanging scroll; ink and color on silk, China
late 15th–early 16th century
Drunken recluse beneath an old tree, Chen Zihe  Chinese, Hanging scroll; ink on silk, China
early 16th century
Two hawks in a thicket, Lin Liang  Chinese, Hanging scroll; ink and color on silk, China
mid- 15th century
Eagle on a pine tree, Qi Baishi  Chinese, Hanging scroll; ink on paper, China
mid-20th century

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Citation

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Hearn, Maxwell K., and Wen Fong. 1999. Along the Riverbank: Chinese Paintings from the C. C. Wang Family Collection [Exhibition Held at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, September 3, 1999-January 9, 2000]. New York: the Metropolitan museum of art distributed by H. N. Abrams.