- Mayching Kao
[ Wu Kuan-chung ]
(b Yixing, Jiangsu Province, July 5, 1919; d Beijing, June 25, 2010).
Chinese painter and art educator . Wu trained at the Hangzhou National Academy of Art between 1936 and 1942, studying modern Western painting with Chinese artists returned from France, and Chinese painting with Pan Tianshou , from whom he gained a deep understanding of Chinese aesthetics. From 1947 to 1950, Wu studied oil painting in Paris at the atelier of Jean Souvérbie (1891–1981) of the Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts. After his return to China in 1950 he took up a series of teaching positions, the final one at the Beijing Central Academy of Art and Design, from which he retired in 1989. The dominating influence of Socialist Realism in China after 1949 led to criticism and suppression of Wu’s Western formalist approach. Nevertheless, he persisted in his search for ways to make his French experience take root in China. Travelling the country, he captured its beauty in a manner that displayed unique sensibility. By the early 1960s he had evolved a personal style fusing the rich colours of the oil medium and Western formal elements with the fluidity and spiritual vitality of traditional Chinese aesthetics. From the early 1970s he experimented with Chinese ink and colours on paper, successfully introducing new themes and stylistic innovations to a time-honoured tradition. Since the late 1970s he has exhibited and travelled widely overseas, finding new inspiration for his work. Wu enjoys critical acclaim for his vibrant synthesis of Chinese and Western art; his numerous writings shed light on his own artistic struggles, as well as his perceptions of modern Chinese art and artists....