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From Painter to Artist: Representing Guohua Paintings and Painters in Liangyou, 1926–1938

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Chapter Summary

This chapter takes Liangyou as an object of interpretation and as a source to extract visual and textual data. Contemporary ink paintings, categorized as "national paintings" (guohua), were either obtained directly from painters or provided by painting societies as photographs. In Liangyou, the centuries-long antithesis of amateurish and professional styles in traditional ink painting was replaced by a new emphasis on universal aesthetic qualities, applied to both Chinese and Western artworks. The emphasis on Wu Hufan's family background, his versatility in epigraphy, calligraphy, and painting, his rich collections, his artistic lineage, his esteemed reputation among fellow painters, and above all, his reluctance to paint for profit as suggested by the last sentence, create an image of one typical literati painter respected by his contemporaries. Representing traditional-style painting as an artistic practice with modern and Chinese implications created the perception of the painters as modern Chinese artists.

Keywords: calligraphy; Chinese artworks; epigraphy; guohua paintings; Liangyou; traditional ink painting; Western artworks; Wu Hufan



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