Hsu Pei-hung (1895-1953), Republican Period
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.