Wu Changshi (Wu Changshuo) (Chinese, 18441927)
Hanging scroll; ink and color on paper; 57 3/8 x 31 1/4 in. (145.7 x 79.4 cm)
Signed: "Anji Wu Changshi in his seventy–sixth year"
Gift of Robert Hatfield Ellsworth, in memory of La Ferne Hatfield Ellsworth, 1988 (1988.324.2)
This grandly auspicious painting is both a hallmark of Shanghai style in the early decades of the century and eloquent testimony to the enduring strength of Wu's calligraphic brushwork.
The painting is at once richly decorative and imbued with a solemn, archaic flavor. Popular emblems of long life and renewalthe fungus, spring's narcissus, an old garden rock, and bright red berries of the nandina plantdispel the bitterness of isolation and demise. Bright color is tempered by adding ink, giving the green leaves the color of patinated bronze. Wu's corpulent brushwork, derived from his study of seal script, blends monumental weightiness and lush sense appeal.