C. C. Wang & Fred Fangyu Wang

18 - 25 March 2017

Fu Qiumeng Fine Art is delighted to announce two-person exhibition by C. C. Wang and Fred Fangyu Wang on view at 156 Orchard Street, from March 18 to March 25, 2017. This exhibition, which presents works influenced by classic Chinese aesthetic and literati culture, is an exploration of 20th century important collectors’ understanding and practice of classical Chinese art. The opening reception will take place on Saturday, March 18 from 6-8 pm.

 

C.C. Wang (Chi-ch'ien Wang, 1907-2003) was born in Wu County, Jiangsu Province, China in 1907. After studying authentic literati art and connoisseurship with old masters Gu Lingshi and Wu Hufan in Shanghai, he decided to devote himself to art. In 1936 he was asked to be an adviser to the committee organizing the ground-breaking London exhibition of art from the Palace Museum in Beijing. This allowed him to examine all the paintings in the imperial collection, something no private citizen had ever done.

 

He is best known as a painter, calligrapher, and collector of Chinese art. As a collector, his collection of ancient Chinese paintings is consistently listed as one of the greatest such collections in the world. During the 1970s-1980s, 37 paintings from his collection were given to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, including the most important piece, including the most important piece Dong Yuan's "Riverbank", 

 

In painting, he is especially known for basing the brushwork of traditional literati landscape painting on chance effects created by pretreating the paper--for example, sometimes stamping paper with wooden planks to create a wood grain pattern, or crumpling papers into balls and dipping their projecting angles into ink. The resulting lines, blots, and patterns are then converted into landscapes by adding traditional elements such as trees, houses, or rocks in ink or color. He may also add washes of light color to suggest variations in light patterns or clouds. This is a variation on the "splashed ink" technique. His work draws on both Chinese and Western painterly techniques.(See: Silbergeld, Jerome. Mind Landscapes: the Paintings of C.C. Wang. Seatle: University of Washington Press, c1987.)

 

Fred Fangyu Wang (1913 – 1997) was a Chinese calligrapher, art collector, and a Professor of Chinese at Yale University and Seton Hall University. He was born in Beijing in 1913, and emigrated to the United States in 1945.

 

As a collector, Wang was one of the most prominent modern Bada Shanren scholars. Together with his wife, Wang assembled the largest and most important private collection of Bada's works in the world. In 1998, Wang Fangyu’s family gave a large number of paintings and works of calligraphy by Chinese artist Bada Shanren (1626 - 1705) to the Smithsonian's Freer Gallery of Art.

 

As a calligrapher, Wang Fangyu found the practice of mastering past traditions constraining. Beyond his conventional education and traditional training lay the seeds of inspiration that spawned his own new and unique form of calligraphy. New, yet not so new: his calligraphy was based on traditional expertise but also “modernized,’ in part to tweak the traditionalists of which he himself was certainly one. In the process, he created an innovative body of work entitled Dancing Ink.

 

Dancing Ink combined his academic prowess with artistic verve. Based on his perception of the “five principles of nature” (unity, change, balance, force, and motion) and inspired by his scholarship and collection of works by the seventeenth-century painter Bada Shanren, Wang Fangyu unleashed a creative inner energy resulting in his calligraphy.