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Solitary Angler on an Autumn River

Photo: Elizabeth Mann

Solitary Angler on an Autumn River

1492

Shen Zhou

Chinese, 1427-1509

Shen Zhou, one of China’s greatest artists, is known for his brilliant combinations of poetry, calligraphy, and painting, or the “Three Perfections.” Wealthy and cultured, he had the opportunity and discipline to learn from past masters by copying old paintings, and he did so all his life. He also often sketched personal, daily experiences: rain-drenched flowers, the donkey in the barn, the crab he ate for dinner.

This work reflects with an almost childlike freshness upon the literati manner of Wu Zhen (1280–1352), known for images of fisherman or bamboo infused with calligraphic flair. The angler here sits alone, contented, catching nothing except perhaps Shen Zhou’s poem: “…As things decay and life declines/ Set off in a small fishing boat…/ Drift, alone and free.” Humble apologies for his “ugly” copy of Wu Zhen follow. Twenty-two admiring colophons by 16th-century scholars and artists are attached.
Ink on paper
2020(34.4 x 1045 cm)
Image:
(1) Frontispiece: 30 cm (h) x 83.8 cm (w)
(2) Title label: 23.5 cm (h) x 1.7 cm (w)
(3) Painting proper: 28.9 cm (h) x 60.4 cm (w)
(4) Colophon paper (w/ calligraphy): 29.1 cm (h) x 760.8 cm (w)
(5) Colophon paper (blank): 30.1 cm (h) x 26.5 cm (w)
Gift of Karen Wang
97.80
Provenance: Nan-p’ing Wong; Karen Wang
Photo: Elizabeth Mann
location
Not currently on view

Resources

Exhibition HistoryYale University Art Gallery, Apr. 9, 1993 - July 31, 1994; University of Michigan Museum of Art, Sept. 10 - Nov. 19, 1994; Art Gallery, Chinese University, Hong Kong, Dec. 16, 1994 - Feb. 25, 1995; Spencer Museum of Art, Lawrence, Kansas, Apr. 9 - June 18, 1995. The Jade Studio: Masterpieces of Ming and Qing painting and calligraphy from the Wong Nan-p'ing collection.

Seattle, Washington, Seattle Art Museum, The Art of Protest, Apr. 27, 2000 – Jan. 21, 2001.

Seattle, Washington, Seattle Asian Art Museum, Chinese Art: A Seattle Perspective, Dec. 22, 2007 - July 26, 2009.

Seattle, Washington, Seattle Art Museum, Luminous: The Art of Asia, October 13, 2011 – January 8, 2012.

Seattle, Washington, Seattle Asian Art Museum, Boundless: Stories of Asian Art, Feb. 8, 2020 - ongoing [on view Dec. 10, 2021 - July 24, 2022].
Published ReferencesLu, Shihua 陸時化. Wu Yue Suojian Shuhualu吳越所見書畫錄 (Shanghai: Shanghai guji chubanshe. 2002).

The Jade Studio: Masterpieces of Ming and Qing painting and calligraphy from the Wong Nan-p'ing collection, New Haven, Ct.: Yale University Art Gallery, 1994, Cat. #4: 74-77

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