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Painting - Colt

Colt

  • Object:

    Painting

  • Place of origin:

    China (made)

  • Date:

    summer 1944 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Xu, Beihong, born 1894 - died 1953 (maker)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Ink and colour on paper

  • Credit Line:

    Given by Miss Ann Wilkinson

  • Museum number:

    E.493-1947

  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

Xu Beihong (1895-1953) was an important early pioneer in the introduction of Western art to China and in the adaptation of it to Chinese character. As one of the most acclaimed painters and educators in modern China, he influenced the development of 20th-century Chinese painting.

Xu was born in a village in Yixing, Jiangsu province. He studied painting in his hometown and Shanghai before having an opportunity to go to Europe. In the period from 1919 to 1927, he studied at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris, acquiring a solid foundation in the Western academic tradition. On returning to China, Xu became a powerful force for the introduction of Western art through his teaching, writing and exhibitions; his influence was rivalled only by Liu Haisu and Lin Fengmian. After 1949, with the founding of the People’s Republic, he settled in Beijing and became Director of the new Central Academy of Fine Arts and Chairman of the National Artists’ Association.

Horse is Xu's favourite subject matter. This painting reflects the artist's principal artistic concern, namely, to bring together the Western academic tradition of painting and Chinese aesthetics through ink techniques. The work was made in summer 1944, shortly before the artist had a medical operation. It was given by him to Miss Ellen Wilkinson (1891-1947), a prominent member of the Labour cabinet in Clement Attlee's government. It was given to the V&A by her sister, Miss Ann Wilkinson, after her death.

Physical description

Colt, painted by Xu Beihong, dated summer 1944. ink on paper and framed and glassed. Bears the artist's short inscription which gives the date of execution and name of the artist, followed by two personal seals of the artist.

Place of Origin

China (made)

Date

summer 1944 (made)

Artist/maker

Xu, Beihong, born 1894 - died 1953 (maker)

Materials and Techniques

Ink and colour on paper

Marks and inscriptions

Artist's inscription and two seals
Inscription: "In the thrity-third year Beihong wrote this".
Seals: "Donghai wangsun" (Decendant of the Eastern Sea); "Xing ji you chi" (He who in his conduct of himself maintains a sense of shame).

Dimensions

Height: 144.7 cm, Width: 55.9 cm

Object history note

The work was given by the artist to Miss Ellen Wilkinson (1891-1947), a prominent member of the Labour cabinet in Clement Attlee's government. It was then given to the V&A by her sister, Miss Ann Wilkinson, shortly after her death.

Historical significance: A work by one of the major Chinese artists in the 20th century.

Descriptive line

'Colt', Xu Beihong 徐悲鴻 (1894-1953), ink and colour on paper, China, 1944

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Chu-tsing Li, 'Trends in Modern Chinese Painting', Artibus Asiae supplementum 37 (Ascona, 1979); Xu Beihong huaji [Collected paintings of Xu Beihong], 2 vols (Beijing, 1979–84).

Materials

Paper

Techniques

Xieyi or 'capturing the idea'

Subjects depicted

Horse

Categories

Paintings

Collection

East Asia Collection

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