Camellia, Narcissus, and Plum Blossoms

Artist: Huang Binhong (1865-1955)
Historical period(s)
Modern period, 1951
Ink and color on paper
H x W (image): 72 x 31.5 cm (28 3/8 x 12 3/8 in)
China, Anhui province, Xixian
Credit Line
Gift of Arthur M. Sackler
Arthur M. Sackler Gallery
Accession Number
On View Location
Currently not on view

Hanging scroll

camellia, China, Modern period (1912 - present), narcissus, plum blossom
Provenance research underway.

Huang Binhong was a major twentieth-century painter as well as a scholar of Chinese painting history. Huang based his art upon the study of ancient traditions, but also imbued his works with a level of bold spontaneity that influenced younger painters and helped to launch new directions in Chinese landscape painting.

In his early career, Huang often copied and reinterpreted early masterpieces as a method to study the technical craft of painting. In midcareer, he began to travel frequently and sketch scenery, learning to combine in his paintings direct observations of nature with models from the past. Ultimately Huang developed a style with strong, blunt brushwork, wet ink, and subtle color tonalities.

That effect is clear in this scroll, which Huang Binhong painted when he was eighty-seven or as he wrote in his inscription, during his "eighty-eighth year as an old man," bashiba sou. The painting is dated to the early spring, and the combination of flowers is a traditional arrangement for the Chinese New Year. This celebration usually corresponds with the month of February in the Western calendar and is a time for celebrating the renewal of spring.

Published References
  • Thomas Lawton, Joseph Chang, Stephen Allee. Brushing the Past: Later Chinese Calligraphy from the Gift of Robert Haftield Ellsworth. Exh. cat. Washington. p. 125.
Collection Area(s)
Chinese Art
Web Resources
Whistler's Neighborhood
Google Cultural Institute
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