The Shanghai School (1840-1920) Paintings and calligraphy from the Shanghai Museum

8 March - 30 June 2013

Continuing its exploration of Chinese painting after exhibitions devoted to "Six Centuries of Chinese Paintings" in 2009, and to "Chinese Artists in Paris" in 2011, the Cernuschi Museum offers, thanks to the exceptional loans of the Shanghai Museum, to discover a key period in the history of Chinese art during which painters and calligraphers gathered in Shanghai sketch a new modernity.

In the nineteenthe century, the Qing dynasty is deeply shaken by the Taiping revolt and the military threat of the Western powers. Beginning in the 1840 years, the Jiangnan region in central southern China is the scene of armed conflict ravaging the cities of Nanjing (Nanjing), Yangzhou and Hangzhou. The community of artists who had participated in the exceptional influence of these cities in the 18th centurye century, is scattered. Many painters and calligraphers fleeing conflicts are converging on the Shanghai region where a new culture is developing, influenced by trade with the West. These historical upheavals are at the origin of a profound cultural upheaval but also of a real revival of the arts characterized by the liberation of the line and the irruption of the color.

The exhibition will first present the legacy of Jiangnan by showing how, genre by genre, painters are inhabited by reminiscences of styles created in this region. It will then give prominence to the most prominent personalities: those who caused a break in human representation by creating realistic or caricatural images, such as Ren Xiong or Ren Bonian; those, like Xu Gu, who took the landscape out of the stylistic formulas inherited from the beginning of the Qing dynasty, and which led to an essential simplification.

The transposition of calligraphic models in the field of painting devotes the expressive power of the line. This style, initiated by Zhao Zhiqian, finds its culmination in the work of Wu Changshuo. It is probably in the category of "paintings of flowers and birds", that this evolution of the style is the most manifest: the stem of a plant, the tail of a fish are animated with a powerful dynamism of which the The effect is reinforced by bright tones, sometimes borrowed from the Western palette.

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