Chen Cheng-Po

(18951947 ) - Artworks
CHENG-PO CHEN Summer Morning

Christie's /May 25, 2013
1,000,893.62 - 1,501,340.43
1,018,908.00

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Chen Chengpo

 

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Pang Xunqin, San Yu, Lin Fengmian, Yun-Gee Chu, Chao Chung-Hsiang, Yang Sanlang, Li Shih-Ch Iao
Artworks in Arcadja
28

Some works of Chen Cheng-Po

Extracted between 28 works in the catalog of Arcadja
Chen Cheng-Po - Chia-yi Park

Chen Cheng-Po - Chia-yi Park

Original 1937
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Lot number: 1007
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Chen Cheng-Po (Chen Chengbo) 1895-1947 CHIA-YI PARK signed in Chinese and dated 1937 oil on canvas 60.8 by 72.5 cm.; 23 7/8 by 28 1/2 in. Read Condition Report Read Condition Report Register or Log-in to view condition report Saleroom Notice Provenance Collection of the Artist's Family Private Asian Collection Exhibited Taipei, The Fourth Tai-Yang Art Exhibition, 1938 Taipei, Liang Gallery, The Precursory Artists' Masterpieces of Taiwan II, 4 June - 4 July 1999, pp. 20-21 Literature Chen Cheng-Po: Taiwan Fine Art Series 1, Artists Publishing Co. Ltd., Taipei, 1992, cover, pl. 62, p. 126 Artist Magazine, Artists Publishing Co. Ltd., Taipei, 1992, No. 34, p. 205 Remembrance and Reflection: 2.28 Commemorative Exhibition, Taipei National Fine Art Museum, Taipei, 1996, p. 57 Family Art Museum-Ancestor Art Collection, Colour Passion: Chen Cheng-Po, Lion Head Publishing Company Ltd., Taipei, 1998, p.123 Taiwan Art Journal, National Taiwan Museum of Fine Art, Taichung, 2000, No. 82, p. 42 Nostalgia in the Vast Universe: Commemorative Exhibition of Chen Cheng-Po, Kaohsiung Museum of Fine Arts, Kaohsiung, 2011, p. 21, 234 Walk through Jiangnan-Art Exploration of Chen Cheng-Po, 2012, Taipei National Fine Art Museum, Taipei, p. 239 Under the Searing Sun: A Solo Exhibition by Chen Cheng-Po, Chin-Shuan Chultural & Educational Foundation, Taipei, 2012, p. 25 Forever Chen Cheng-Po Chia-Yi Park- The Light and Warmth at 23°28' 48’’’’ N Chen Cheng-Po was born in Chia-Yi, Taiwan, in 1895. His father was a xiucai scholar of the Qing Dynasty; his mother died young, leaving him to the care of his paternal grandmother. Following China's defeat in the Sino-Japanese War, Japan took over Taiwan the year Chen was born, and during his childhood, he witnessed the Japanese colonisation of Taiwan. Chen's artistic awakening began in 1913, when he was a student in the teacher-training program at Taiwan Sotokufu Mandarin School. Inspired by one of his instructors, the renowned Japanese watercolour painter Kinichiro Ishikawa, he demonstrated both a talent and a passion for painting. At his mentor's wish, Chen enrolled at Tokyo University of the Arts in 1924. During his time in Japan, he worked diligently, not only attending exhibitions in order to broaden his perspective and absorb new ideas, but also investing tremendous amounts of time in exploring his own style as a painter. In 1926, when Chen was still a third-year graduate student, his painting Street of Chia-Yi was featured in the seventh iteration of Japan's prestigious Empire Art Exhibition. It was the first time that the exhibition series included a Taiwanese artist in its Western Art category, causing a stir in Japanese and Taiwanese art circles. The painting won a Young Talent prize at the exhibition, and Chen's reputation quickly blossomed. A Pioneer of Chinese Modern Art: Combining and Reinventing After graduating in 1929, Chen accepted a teaching appointment at Xinhua Art College in Shanghai. He also taught at Yiyuan Painting Institute and served as the director of Changming Art School. Chen was a founding member of the Juelan Society, an avant-garde Western painting group. He subsequently served on the Western painting jury of the First National Art Exposition, and in 1931, his painting The Brook was selected to represent China at the World's Fair in Chicago. He was also named one of "Twelve Representative Chinese Contemporary Painters" by the National Xun Zheng Memorial Integrated Art Exhibition in Shanghai. During his time in Shanghai, Chen's painting underwent a crucial transition from maturity to refinement. He found time amid his busy teaching schedule to engage with a variety of active painters in Shanghai, including Zhang Daqian, Wang Jiyuan, Ni Yide, Zhu Qizhan, Pan Tianshou, and Pan Yuliang—who provided Chen with fresh ideas of art. At the same time, his study of traditional Chinese art gave him a new insight into painting. Chen was particularly captivated by the work of Ni Zan, one of the so-called Four Masters of the Yuan Dynasty, and Zhu Da, one of the Four Monks of the Qing. He once said, "Ni Yunlin [pseudonym of Ni Zan] used line drawing to make his paintings vivid. However, Bada Shanren [pseudonym of Zhu Da] did not use line when he drew, instead he used rubbing and clumping brushstrokes with great skill. My recent works changed a great deal due to the influence of these two people. The expression in my paintings comes from brushwork. Rubbing brings the canvas to life and communicates a scene in an indescribable way". During this period, Chen seamlessly incorporated the concepts and techniques of Chinese ink painting into his work as he continued to pursue his individual style. After returning to Taiwan, these features became more apparent in the paintings Chen created. Chen's comprehensive education in Chinese modern art history began in Southern Taiwan, continued during his robust training in Western art in Japan, and harvested in his works and teaching in Shanghai. Amid the collision between new and old ideas, Chen combined Chinese and Western concepts to form his own distinctive style, thus cementing his importance and unique place in art history. A Fierce Nostalgia for Native Place Chen left Shanghai in 1933 to return to his hometown Chia-Yi in Taiwan. He once said "nature is my studio". Again, he took the local scenes of Chia-Yi as his subject, expressing his feelings of his native land. His eyes transformed a variety of ostensibly mundane scenes into diversity: he turned the ordinary into extraordinary. Chia-Yi Park, completed in 1910, was one of the places Chen often visited. The large park of more than 130 thousand square metres contains winding streams, the famous Biantian Pond, and rich vegetation. Chen had painted the park seven times after returning to Taiwan, these works provide a glimpse into his constantly evolving artistic perspective: horizontal becomes bird's-eye view, one-point perspective gives way to multiple-point perspective, and pure realism grows more impressionistic. His later works also include increased aesthetic symbolism. These important paintings reveal the evolution of Chen's artistry, but they also embody his fondness for Chia-Yi Park —part of the homeland that nourished his creativity. From the artist's perspective, Chia-Yi Park was a product of modernization during Japanese colonisation. It was a significant landmark of Chia-Yi. He once said, "As an Asian, I must paint Asia. I may use Western paints, but the subject and the style must convey Asian sensibility". In 1937, Chen finished Chia-Yi Park (Lot 1007) , a painting created with these ideas in mind. Art critics agree that this painting represents the apogee of Chen's Chia-Yi Park series. In 1992, Artists Publishing continued its substantial investment and research into Taiwanese art by attempting a retrospective of one hundred years of Taiwanese fine arts. Chen Cheng-Po topped their list of modern masters. They selected Chia-Yi Park for the cover of the resulting monograph, Chen Cheng-Po: Taiwan Fine Art Series 1. The painting is undoubtedly a symbolic culmination of Chen's lifelong pursuit of art. Taking a Free Hand to a Midsummer Scene "You bloom not in the spring, when the many flowers are brilliant, but in the summer, when all things perspire. You were born not a graceful and slender blade of grass, but a strong and massive tree—says who? There are no beauties in the southern country during the spring, but wait until the summer: the poinciana is the beauty of the south". Silver Bell Society poet Lin Hengtai, Poinciana Unlike the single-perspective, realist Chia-Yi Park of 1934, or the Chia-Yi Park of 1936 in the collection of the National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts, the 1937 painting is a microcosmic landscape from which the park's bridges, railings, and ambling visitors are excluded. Chen chooses an overlooking perspective focused on the Biantian Pond and a poinciana tree—the so-called "beauty of the south". The tree in the painting reaches powerfully upward, its dense green leaves swaying in a gentle breeze, its upper branches abloom with red flowers that hint at the arrival of summer. Low-hanging branches and drooping leaves extend toward the surface of the pond as if thirsty for a taste of its refreshing water. They dip their heads like the white geese and red-crowned cranes in the pond, adding an embodiment of movement to the painting. The intricate composition of the painting combines a bright melody with a brisk rhythm: a stage where the curtain never falls. Golden rays of light fall on the tree, filling the viewer with the feel of a warm spring day in southern Taiwan. This evocation combines with the cool damp of the pond to form the artist's most powerful depiction of the humid subtropical climate. Chen's treatment of the tree leaves and trunk demonstrates his unique style of brushwork showing how he combined the best techniques of Ni Zan and Bada Shanren. In his own words, he "conceals the line within the brushwork one stroke at a time, forming an expression in which the line and the brushstrokes complement one another." He paints freely on the canvas with a thick brush inundated with oil paint, using vigorous brushstrokes imbued with confidence, exuberance, and movement. Chen's brushwork expresses the direction of the tree's growth, but also suggests the traces of a gentle breeze shuttling through the leaves in a vivid depiction of nature's undying vitality and rhythm. Chen's son Chen Tsong-Kwang recalls accompanying his father on painting trips to Chia-Yi Park as a small child: "Father was completely focused when he was painting. When he painted the tree, he soaked one side of the brush in paint and then painted the leaves very quickly. He seemed like a warrior in a duel with the canvas. His manner of painting was filled with dramatic tension. His absorbed and confident bearing made a very deep impression on me". In Chia-Yi Park, the artist uses free, rising brushstrokes to compose a vivid song of passion and movement. The painting's composition and short, powerful, rolling brushstrokes are reminiscent of Pine Trees at Sunset by the Western modernist master Van Gogh. There is a flowing connection of form and energy between the two works by Eastern and Western masters. Both express an ardent love for life and land; both brim with sincere emotion and intense ardour. The Lush and Splendid Colours of the South "I heard it was Hell, so I was surprised to see that it is Heaven! The colours of Taiwan's natural scenery are rich, and the shape and hue of its flora radiate an intense character. This is the natural distinctiveness of the south. The colours contained in the shapes possess a unique vitality. They are the native colours of Taiwan. The central southern part of the country is a beautiful golden yellow that flickers and shines". These are the words of Chen's mentor, Kinichiro Ishikawa, after he first arrived in Taiwan. Ishikawa taught a realist style of capturing natural scenery, and he applied his distinctive perspective to the sharp colours of southern Taiwan—the characteristic "rich native hues" and "shining, flickering golden yellow". Chen surpasses his teacher by exploring the ultimate depths of the colours of the south. As Chia-Yi Park demonstrates, he primarily uses a warm colour set of reds, ochres, golden yellows, and deep greens of varying brightness to create gorgeous scenes of vibrant contrast. The colours in his paintings are completely natural and fundamental. In his use of earth-red and green colours, Chen approaches the expression of Cézanne, the father of modern art, in Great Pine near Aix. His summer scene is full of vitality: the light green of new leaves perfectly complements the lusher green of the other plants and the red-brown of the earth. Chen also adds a wealth of contrasting colour: there are the white wings and red pates of red-crowned cranes and also the splendid interplay between red flowers and green leaves in the poinciana tree. In this way, Chen unfolds the vitality of the natural world to delightful effect. A Fervent Imagination Rushes toward Utopia "There is no delight in a rational and expository portrayal of objects. Even if it is well done, it lacks the great power to stir the heart. To paint purely from feeling provides a better result". Chen Cheng-Po Two red-crowned cranes, dipping their heads to drink from the pond in the foreground of Chia-Yi Park, strike a graceful pose reminiscent of ballet dancers as they extend their bodies over the lightly rippling water. It seems like quite a usual view, but in fact it is a surrealistic scene. Red-crowned cranes live in temperate zones; Taiwan, situated in the subtropics, is an unsuitable habitat for them, and whenever a small number of disoriented cranes find their way to the island, they always attract a great deal of attention from media and birdwatchers. Archives indicate that red-crowned cranes appeared in Taiwan only in 1932 and 2004, and so could not possibly have become a regular sight at Chia-Yi Park. Chen Cheng-Po's deliberate juxtaposition of red-crowned cranes from temperate climates with the tropical poinciana tree is simply act of individual imagination: an attempt to transcend the traditional realist framework. The red-crowned cranes, which seem like creatures of an otherworldly utopia, add a mystical and moving air to the painting. According to Chinese tradition, the cranes are a symbol of prosperity, happiness, and longevity. During the Tang Dynasty it became fashionable among the nobility to raise cranes; in Japan, they are called "fairy birds", and can be found in One Hundred Famous Views of Edo by the ukiyo-e master Utagawa Hiroshige. By including these cranes in an everyday setting rich in local colour, Chen demonstrates his heritage and innovation within Eastern aesthetics. In both conception and execution, the painting is a paragon of the artist's high degree of creativity and unfettered artistic facility, and it ranks as a museum-grade masterpiece. In the words of National Art Museum of China President Fan Di'an, "the Taiwanese painter Chen Cheng-Po is an outstanding representative of the great sages of twentieth century Chinese art. He took part in the Juelan Society, the most forward-looking Chinese art movement of the century, and he threw himself into the tide of change in the art world. After returning to Taiwan in 1933, he painted vocationally while also contributing to art education, and he co-founded Taiwan's largest civil arts organization, the Taiyang Fine Arts Association. His artistic, educational, and societal endeavours spanned the Taiwan Strait and carved his name into the Chinese art history books of the first half of the twentieth century". This year, on the occasion of the 120th anniversary of Chen Cheng-Po's birth, the National Art Museum of China in Beijing and the China Art Museum in Shanghai have both held major retrospectives for the artist, affirming beyond doubt his transcendent aesthetic accomplishments. In the future, Chen's works will certainly continue to generate radiant enthusiasm in the art world. Fig. 1 Chen Cheng Po and Chia-Yi Park (the first from the left) in the fourth exhibition of Tai Yang Art Society © Chen Cheng Po Culture Foundation Fig. 2 The scene of Chia-Yi Park’’’’s famous Biantian Pond, Japanese-Occupied Period © Taiwan Photographer Society Fig. 3 Chia-Yi Park on the cover of the artist’’’’s important catalogue, Taiwan Fine Arts Series 1: Chen Cheng Po © Artists Publishing Co. Ltd. Fig. 4 Misty Vapor on the High Seas: Collected Artwork of Chen Cheng-Po published by Shanghai Renmin Publisher in 2014 © Shanghai Renmin Publisher Fig. 5 Chen Cheng-Po, Chia-Yi Park , oil on canvas, 120 x 162cm, 1937, Collection of National Taiwan Museum of Fine Art © National Taiwan Museum of Fine Art Fig. 6 Chen Cheng-Po, View of Chia-Yi Park , oil on canvas, 72.5x90.5cm,1934, private Asian collection © all rights reserved. Fig. 7 Chen Cheng-Po, Chia-Yi Park , oil on board, 33 x 24cm, 1939, private Asian collection © all rights reserved Fig. 8 Vincent van Gogh, Pine Tree in the Evening Sky , 1889, oil on canvas, collection of Rijksmuseum Kroller-Mueller Museum, Holland © Rijksmuseum Kroller-Mueller Museum Fig. 9 Paul Cézanne, Great Pine near Aix , The collection of State Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg, Russia © State Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg Fig. 10 Chen CHeng-Po © Chen Cheng Po Culture Foundation This work is in good condition. There is evidence of light craquelure and minor paint losses, only visible under close examination. There is evidence of scattered retouching around the edges. "In response to your inquiry, we are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Sotheby's is merely a subjective, qualified opinion. Prospective buyers should also refer to any Important Notices regarding this sale, which are printed in the Sale Catalogue. NOTWITHSTANDING THIS REPORT OR ANY DISCUSSIONS CONCERNING A LOT, ALL LOTS ARE OFFERED AND SOLD AS IS" IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONDITIONS OF BUSINESS PRINTED IN THE SALE CATALOGUE."
Chen Cheng-Po - Seated Nude-31.11.28 (3)

Chen Cheng-Po - Seated Nude-31.11.28 (3)

Original 1931
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Lot number: 7047
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Lot Description CHEN CHENG-PO (CHEN CHENBO, Chinese, 1895-1947) Seated Nude-31.11.28 (3) signed in Chinese; dated in Chinese (lower left) pencil, watercolour on paper 29 x 36.5 cm. (11 3/8 x 14 3/8 in.) Painted in 1931 one seal of the artist 陈澄波 坐姿裸女 31.11.28 (3) 铅笔 水彩 纸本 1931年作 签名:澄波 Provenance Sotheby's Hong Kong, 7 October 2007, Lot 536 Acquired from the above by the present owner Literature Artist Publishing Co., Taiwan Fine Arts Series 1: Chen Cheng Po, Taipei, Taiwan, 1992 (illustrated, p. 151). Artist Publishing Co., Chen Cheng-Po Corpus: Volume 3. Watercolor Sketch, Taipei, Taiwan, 2012 (illustrated, p. 41).
Chen Cheng-Po - Lying Nude-32.1 (38)

Chen Cheng-Po - Lying Nude-32.1 (38)

Original 1932
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Gross Price
Lot number: 3645
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CHEN CHENG-PO (CHEN CHENGBO, Chinese, 1895-1947) Lying Nude-32.1 (38) signed in Chinese; dated '1932.1.'; inscribed 'C.T.P.' in English (lower left) watercolour on paper 25.8 x 36 cm (10 1/8 x 14 1/8 in.) Painted in 1932 Private Collection, Asia Kaohsiung Museum of Fine Arts, Nostalgia in the Vast Universe, Commemorative Exhibition of Chen Cheng-Po, Kaohsiung, Taiwan, 2011 (illustrated, plate 197, p. 205). Artist Pulishing Co., Chen Cheng-Po Corpus Volume 3, Watercolor Sketch, Taipei, Taiwan, 2012 (illustrated, p. 163 & book spine).
Chen Cheng-Po - Summer Morning

Chen Cheng-Po - Summer Morning

Original 1940
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Gross Price
Lot number: 19
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Lot Description Cheng-Po Chen (1895-1947) Summer Morning signed in Chinese; dated '1940' (lower left); inscribed in Chinese; dated '1940' (side of the canvas) oil canvas 91 x 117 cm. (35 7/8 x 46 1/8 in.) 20th Century 1 Literature Hsiung-Shih Art Book, Taiwan Fine Arts Artists 2: Chen Cheng-Po: The Academic Painter , Taipei, Taiwan, 1979 (illustrated, p. 72). Artists Publishing Co., Taiwan Fine Arts Series 1: Chen Cheng Po, Taipei, Taiwan, 1992 (illustrated, p. 137). Hsiung-Shih Art Book, Paint, Enthusiasm: Chen Cheng Po, Taiwan, Taiwan, 1998 (illustrated, p. 105). Taiwan Soka Association, The Official Fine Arts Exhibition in Taiwan during the Japanese Occupation, 1927-1943 , Taipei, Taiwan, 2010 (illustrated, p. 178). Kaohsiung Museum of Fine Arts, Nostalgia in the Vast Universe: Commemorative Exhibition of Chen Cheng-Po , Kaohsiung, Taiwan, 2011 (illustrated, plate 16, p. 63). Chiayi 228 Memorial Foundation, Chen Cheng-Pos Paintings, Chiaya, Taiwan, 2011 (illustrated, p. 208). Chin-Shuan Chultural & Educational Foundation, Under the Searing Sun: A Solo Exhibition by Chen Cheng-Po , Taipei, Taiwan, 2012 (illustrated, pp. 100-101). Liang Gallery Co., Ltd., The Origin of Taiwan Art: Chen Cheng-Po, Taipei, Taiwan, 2012 (illustrated, p. 201). Exhibited Taipei, Taiwan, Taiwan Education Association Building, The Third Taiwan Viceroy Art Exhibition , 1940. Kaohsiung, Taiwan, Kaohsiung Museum of Fine Arts, Nostalgia in the Vast Universe: Commemorative Exhibition of Chen Cheng-Po, 22 October 2011 - 28 February 2012. Taipei, Taiwan, Chin-Shuan Chultural & Educational Foundation, Under the Searing Sun V A Solo Exhibition by Chen Cheng-Po , 28 March - 16 June 2012. Taipei, Taiwan, Liang Gallery, The Land with Love: Taiwan Art Journey , 3 October - 13 December 2012 View Lot Notes > Chen Cheng-po was an important 20th century artist in the oil medium whose work shows links with Japan, Shanghai, and Taiwan. At the Tokyo School of Fine Arts in Japan, Chen learned to value the Eastern painting tradition. In Shanghai, after contact with painters who had studied in France, techniques and themes from the Eastern tradition began appearing in his Western-style oils, imbuing them with greater vitality and ultimately creating a style with a uniquely Taiwanese flavor. Chen's fine control of color, expressing his personal humanistic bent and an emphasis on Chinese ink-wash techniques, also reflected the bold use of color in Western art. These factors, added together, made Chen Cheng-po a unique and essential artist. Summer Morning (Lot 19) dates from the period after Chen completed his studies in Japan, had taught art in Shanghai, and then returned to live permanently in Taiwan. An important figure in Taiwan's art history, Chen Cheng-po frequently won honors at the island-wide Taiwan Fine Arts Exhibitions that were held under Japanese colonial rule. In the third Taiwan Fine Arts Exhibition, the winning entry was this Summer Morning, due to Chen's superior handling of theme and subject and his use of color in the work. Much of the appeal of Summer Morning, in fact, derives from the way these elements are manifested throughout the work. One element of Chen Cheng-po's artistic vocabulary was the use of rounded, arcing compositional layouts, and these ovular compositions, which worked so well to set off his subjects, are seen in many of his works. Here, the banks of the pond form an oval that Chen sets in the middle of his pictorial space, while the surrounding scenery becomes part of the narrative Chen wants to convey. A father and his son link hands in visual counterpart to the rural village buildings, and by placing their backs to the viewer, the artist suggests that their story contains further untold elements. During the Renaissance, Botticelli similarly employed an oval composition in his famous The Birth of Venus (Fig. 1) to convey the interconnected relationships of the figures in the painting. Botticelli's oval helps create a narrative sequence of cause and effect, and at the same time, ingeniously produces symmetry in the work despite the unequal numbers of figures on each side. Van Gogh, in The Starry Night (Fig. 2), dazzles the viewer with a moonlight sky full of stars in whirling vortexes; this ability to successfully convey this dizzying feeling within his canvas was one element that attracted Chen Cheng-po to his work. In Chen's Summer Morning, the leaves of the distant trees cannot be seen in any detail; Chen depicts them in swirling swaths of dense greenery, which, like van Gogh's stars, convey a sense of beauty in the way the great masses of leaves congregate together. In traditional Eastern thought, the circle symbolically implies union and completeness, and Chen's oval composition here, combined with his father-and-son theme, speaks of fond thoughts for those dear to the artist and a desire for reunion. The loss of his mother when he was still very young meant that Chen had a lonely childhood, growing up dependent on his grandmother and leaving him with an intense desire for closer familial relationships-perhaps the reason why, in his paintings, we so often see images of parents and children together. Chen's father also left the family early on for life on his own, and the young artist seldom saw him. Though Chen infrequently displays father and son pairings in his work, that nevertheless becomes the central theme of this work, illustrating how rare a painting this Summer Morning was for Chen and highlighting all the more its value within his oeuvre. Aside from any technique, the basic ardor of Chen's personality, his romantic temperament, was such that he harbored special feelings all his life for the place he grew up. Hence his hometown of Chiayi and its surroundings appeared often as subject in his paintings. In this respect he very much resembled the British naturalist painters of the 18th century, who often depicted the environs surrounding their towns and cities. One such painter was Richard Wilson, whose View in Windsor Great Park (Fig. 3) presents a composition and a scene of a very similar vein. One difference, however, lies in the way Chen Cheng-po extends the meandering pathway that begins at the bottom left all the way to the far right, opening the composition out on the right to give viewers a broader sense of space. Chen's scene is set somewhere outside of Chiayi; a father and his son, wearing woven bamboo-leaf hats, have risen early on this summer morning. In summer, the morning is the time for hurrying to the fields to start on the day's work; rural life often means rising with the sun and returning when evening falls. The father leads his son by the hand as they rise with the sun to get an early start and avoid the mid-day summer heat, but the pleasant, genial warmth of the morning sunlight encourages them to linger by the waterside and view the scene, even as they raise their arms to shield their eyes from the coming brilliance of the sun. In Chen's vivid and lifelike depiction, the coolly rippling waters in the center of the composition add an extra touch of summertime ambience.
Chen Cheng-Po - At Leisure Below The Pagoda Hill

Chen Cheng-Po - At Leisure Below The Pagoda Hill

Original 1933
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Gross Price
Lot number: 150
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CHEN CHENG-PO (CHEN CHENGBO, Chinese, 1895-1947) At Leisure below the Pagoda Hill signed and dated in Chinese (lower left); signed, titled and dated in Chinese (side of canvas) oil on canvas 41 x 32 cm. (16 1/8 x 12 5/8 in.) Painted in 1933 Private Collection, Asia Soka Association, Under the Searing Sun: A Solo Exhibition by Chen Cheng-Po, Taipei, Taiwan, 2012 (illustrated, p. 67). Taipei, Taiwan, Soka Association, Under the Searing Sun: A Solo Exhibition by Chen Cheng-Po, 28 March -16 June 2012. Chen cheng-po's paintings embody the essence of Eastern and Western art; they also reflect his passion, honest and sensitive characteristics. His broad vision and sharp observation brought him under the spotlight in the Chinese modern painting world. Born in 1895, Chen devoted his entire life to his country, his hometown, his family, and art creation. He studied under a Japanese art teacher Kinichiro Ishikawa since he was very young. He first practiced sketching in Taiwan, and moved to Tokyo to study Western painting. Later, he moved to Shanghai and developed a style in which "East-meets-West". During his stay in Shanghai, both Chinese literati ink-wash tradition and Western paintings inserted huge influences on him. Shanghai in the early 20th century was politically very unstable. Such a condition attracted many Chinese artists who were deeply influenced by Western modern art theories. As soon as Chen was graduated from the Western Painting Department in Tokyo School of Arts, he went to Shanghai to teach art in 1929. Chen was a member of Juelan, the Storm Art Society, from 1931 to 1932, and befriended many artists like Pan Yu-liang and Wang Ji-yuan. Through these artists, Chen gained much exposure to Western style of painting especially the School of Paris. Chen's experiences in Shanghai were instrumental to his artistic development. He once said that he was very much indebted to two Chinese ink painting masters, Bada Shanren and Ni Zan, from whom he absorbed the use of lines and dry brush. Bada Shanren and Ni Zan are leading figures in traditional Chinese ink-wash paintings, they mastered in capturing the unfathomable mood and ambience and transforming it into a visual language. Forms and shapes are not the main concern of the artists in their creations but instead the "a sense of atmosphere". Chen employed such concept in his sketches and life drawings in oil paint. Chen's four works in the sale were all created during his stay in Shanghai. The oil paintings of traditional Chinese landscapes, while painted by the artist with Western techniques, exude a kind of literati temperament. The sketches made between 1931 and 1932 also bear lines and dry brushstrokes that Chen learned from his predecessors. At Leisure below the Pagoda Hill (Lot 150) is a 1933 work made before Chen Cheng-po moved back to Taiwan from Shanghai. Towers at the peak of mountains are often seen in many of Chen's sketches, projecting the artist's careful thoughts to make this final painting. From the composition of the sketch (Fig. 1), one can see similarities between the sketch and the painting, including the positions of the cottages beneath the tower and those at the mountainside. On the left hand side of the sketch, it's inscribed as "the fifth journey to Mount Hui, 1931.8.13". This may imply that this oil painting was created by Chen during his visit to Mount Hui in Wuxi, Jiangsu as an expression of his feelings towards the marvelous scenery. The S-shaped composition in this painting was inspired by his teacher, Kinichiro Ishikawa. It directs viewers' attention to the tower far away on the mountain top. Two paths converge into one running up the hill. The climbers create an upward dynamic that leads the gaze of the viewers to the tower. The woman holding a baby in the front catches viewers' eye at first sight. In Shanghai, Chen started to explore the techniques of traditional Chinese ink-wash paintings. He came to grasp the methodology of Bada Shanren and Ni Zan to derive an intuitive feeling from subjective observation. By investigating and practicing free style, hence creating free style paintings. In the picture, Chen delineated branches and leaves with sweeping strokes, trees came to life with the breeze stirring the leaves. The motion of the climbers is further enhanced by the Fauvist-like red colour. The baby in the mother's arms is coloured in a lighter green, in contrast with the dark green in the background, he looks secluded and quiet. At Leisure below the Pagoda Hill is one of Chen's masterpieces painted in his late years in Shanghai, it is a great work that internalises Chen Cheng-po's endless effort in bringing the East and West painting techniques together.
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