Modern & Contemporary Chinese Art

Modern & Contemporary Chinese Art

A Child's Life
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    Nie Ou (Chinese, b. 1948)
    A Child's Life
    , 1993
    album of ten leaves, ink and color on paper
    Gift of Red Rock Studio, Hong Kong, A Williams Alumnus
    M.2007.20.9
    Photo by Jim Gipe-Pivot Media and Stephen Petegorsky

    Nie Ou (b. 1948, Shenyang) encountered Western art at an early age but initially avoided traditional Chinese art. She attended the Beijing Youth Palace, a preparatory school that incorporated Western art into the curriculum. In 1969, she was sent to a small farm in Datong as part of the Cultural Revolution agenda of re-educating urban youth. Based on her experiences in Datong, peasant life became a prominent subject in her work. Only after her return to Beijing did Nie express interest in learning Chinese painting techniques. Nie uses an abstract style to merge contemporary peasant figures with traditional ink techniques and landscape elements.

    Translation of the calligraphy on each leaf, right to left:

    Happy Years of a Country Child. Nie Ou made this album in the summer of 1993.

    Today the full moon arrives in the farmhouse along with the cool wind on the top of the mountain. Nie Ou painted Farmer Enjoying the Cool in the summer of 1993.

    This is the most quiet and beautiful place for reading. Nie Ou made this painting in 1993.

    One climbs the mountain top to enjoy the best music. Nie Ou made this painting in 1993.

    The mountain spring is long and affluent. Nie Ou made this painting in 1993.

    The wind is gentle and good for play. By Nie Ou

    The wind is cool on the mountain top. Nie Ou made this painting in the summer of 1993 (the year of Guiyou).

    There are families on the mountains top. Nie Ou made this painting in 1993 (the year of Guiyou).

    The spring is long. The geese fly high. People are happy.  Nie Ou made this painting in 1993 (the year of Guiyou).

    The spring is crystal clear.  Nie Ou made this painting in 1993 (the year of Guiyou).