Pioneering:Chinese Artists Abroad in France and Chinese Modern Art(1911~1949)

Long Museum(West Bund)

Chief Curator : Fan Di' an
Art Director: Su Xinping, Zhang Zikang
Curator: Wang Wei, Hongmei
Special Curator:

Dong Song, Liu Libin, Jiang Mingyang

Duration: 2019.3.16-2019.6.9
Venue :

Long Museum (West Bund) gallery 3/6

3398 Longteng Avenue, Xuhui District Shanghai, China

About the Exhibition

The Central Academy of Fine Arts , the CAFA Art Museum and the Long Museum (West Bund) announce the exhibition of Pioneering: Chinese Artists Abroad in France and Chinese Modern Art (1911-1949) will open on 16 March, 2019 and continue through 9 June, 2019. The whole project was rewarded as one of the annual communications projects in 2018 supported by China National Arts Fund. 

Chang Shuhong, Two Sisters in the Parlour, Oil on canvas, 164×130cm, 1936, Long Museum

Xu Beihong, Family of Yang Zhongzi, Oil on canvas, 59.5×79.5cm,1928, Long Museum

Studying abroad was a notable phenomenon in Chinese history, particularly cultural history, in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. China’s modern study abroad movement began in the 1870s. After this, from the late Qing period to the establishment of the People’s Republic, there were many students who traveled abroad with government scholarships or their own funds. They energetically studied political, economic, military, intellectual, cultural, and artistic subjects. After they returned to China, they dedicated their immense energies and made great contributions, becoming pioneers and founders in many fields.

Liu Haisu, Church in Paris, Oil on canvas, 73×60cm, 1931, Long Museum

Lin Fengmian, Scenery, Ink and colour on paper, 65×64cm, Long Museum

In the fine arts, the majority of the artists such as Xu Beihong, Lin Fengmian, Liu Haisu, Yan Wenliang, Chang Shuhong, Pang Xunqin, Wu Dayu and Chang Yu (Sanyu), who studied in France attended the École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts, primarily studying oil painting, drawing, and sculpture. There, they learned about the classical, realist and naturalist art of the Western academy, as well as various Western modernist schools. They brought oil painting (also called Western painting), sculpture, drawing, pastel, watercolor, and other new artistic genres, new artistic ideas, and even new lifestyles, which were outside the traditional realms of calligraphy and painting, into twentieth-century Chinese art. With this, they became an important group active in China in the first half of the twentieth century; they founded, developed, changed, and enriched Chinese art during that period.

Yan Wenliang, Boat in Silence, Oil on board, 51×74cm, 1982, Long Museum

Pang Xunqin, Dance of Miao People, Ink and color on paper, 34.5×29.8cm, 1949, School of Humanities, CAFA

At this historical juncture for Chinese art in the first half of the twentieth century, the artists who studied abroad in France chose to develop Chinese art from the traditional to the modern, thereby becoming the pioneers and practitioners of modernist culture in twentieth-century Chinese art. They were the founders and drivers of Chinese art’s shift from tradition to modernity. Both the artists who explored the classical, realist, and naturalist modes of the Western academy and the artists who held more closely to the Western modernists pursued the goal of modernity by different paths, collectively shaping and developing twentieth-century Chinese art. 

Wu Dayu, Untitled-19, Oil on canvas, 54×39cm, 1980s, Long Museum

Chang Yu (Sanyu),  Woman in Red, Oil on canvas, 74×50cm, Painted circa 1930s- 1940s, Long Museum

This exhibition, made up of the main display with two special studies, features the latest research and more than 160 works by over 40 artists, including more than 40 artworks provided by Long Museum and about 120 artworks from nearly 40 public and private institutions as well as individuals.

Fang Junbi (Fan Tchun-pi), Portrait of a Lady in Pink, Oil on canvas, 114×79cm, 1926, Long Museum

Wu Zuoren, Boat Tracker, Oil on canvas, 150×100cm, 1933, CAFA Art Museum

This academic study on the phenomenon of artists studying abroad in the early 20th century in the form of exhibitions has the epoch-making and monumental significance that reviews the art history of modern Chinese art. It is expected that this exhibition will respond well to the development of Chinese contemporary art and reflect on the essence of contemporary art and the possibility of future art in the digital and pictorial age. 


Wang Ziyun, The marker of Maoling Railway Station, Ink and color on paper, 29.5×37cm, 1943, Shaanxi Province Art Museum

Zhang Xian, Figure, Oil on canvas, 46.5×38.5cm, 1932, Liu Haisu Art Museum

Hu Shanyu, Canna, Oil on canvas, 65×54.3cm, 1942, Long Museum

Zhou Bichu, Small Three Gorges, Oil on canvas, 79×60cm, 1984, The Collection of the Artist's Family

Huang Xianzhi, Cherries in White Background, Oil on canvas, 61×46.5cm, 1963, Long Museum

Li Chaoshi, Pomegranate, Pastel on paper, 36.1×46.9cm, 1952, Long Museum

Wu Guanzhong, Snow in Beijing, Oil on canvas, 100×90cm, 1994, Long Museum

Zhao Wuji (Zao Wou-Ki), 1.12.64, Oil on canvas, 130×89cm , 1964, Long Museum

Curatorial Team

Fan Di' an, President of China Artists Association, President, professor and PhD supervisor of the Central Academy of Fine Arts.

Su Xinping, Artist, Deputy President, professor and PhD supervisor of the Central Academy of Fine Arts.

Zhang Zikang, Director of the CAFA Art Museum, Professor and PhD supervisor.

Wang Wei, Director of the Long Museum.

Hongmei, Associate professor and postgraduate supervisor of the Central Academy of Fine Arts, Director of Theory Publishing Department of the CAFA Art Museum.

Dong Song, Deputy Director and researcher of Anhui Museum.

Liu Libin, Associate professor and postgraduate supervisor of the Central Academy of Fine Arts.

Jiang Mingyang, Young scholar.