Hsu Pei-hung (1895-1953), Republican Period
Hanging scroll, ink on paper, 84.6 x 31.4 cm

Hsu Pei-hung, a native of I-hsing in Kiangsu Province, studied painting as a youth from his father. He then studied in France and Germany from 1919 to 1927, learning the oil painting techniques of Classical Realism. After returning to China, he served in Nanking Central University, the Peiping School of Art, and Chungking Central Academy of Fine Arts. Hsu excelled at Western painting, especially sketching. He was also gifted at monochrome ink painting and was able to achieve a fusion of Chinese and Western styles, becoming a major figure in painting circles and art education in the early Republican era.

This work, donated to the National Palace Museum by Mr. Wang I-fang, was done by Hsu in 1942 at the age of 47. The standing bamboo with diagonally rendered leaves were completely done using the techniques of Chinese monochrome ink painting. The brushwork is exceptionally steady and the ink tones rich. At the same time, Hsu used ink wash in the middle of the bamboo stalk and thicker brushwork for the outlines, creating the illusion of volume. Thus, this work is a fascinating example of Hsu's skillful fusion of the techniques of Western realistic observation with the brush and ink tradition of Chinese painting.