Modern & Contemporary Chinese Art

Modern & Contemporary Chinese Art

Vigorous Horse
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    Zeng Shanqing (Chinese, b. 1932)
    Vigorous Horse
    , 2002
    ink and color on paper
    Gift of Red Rock Studio, Hong Kong, A Williams Alumnus
    M.2007.20.25
    Photo by Jim Gipe-Pivot Media and Stephen Petegorsky

    Zeng Shanqing (b. 1932, Beijing) demonstrated artistic prowess at an early age and graduated at 18 from the prestigious Central Academy in Beijing. He studied there with Xu Beihong, a master of twentieth-century Chinese painting who combined traditional Chinese painting techniques with Western realism. Zeng embraced this blending of artistic influence and became a teacher at the academy in 1952, only two years after graduating. However, the Cultural Revolution intervened and Zeng was sent to the countryside for re-education. Like Nie Ou and Hu Yongkai, this forced experience of peasant life had a strong impact on his art. Later, when working in Tibet, he was drawn to nomadic culture and especially horses and workers, now prominent subjects in his work. For an exhibition of his work in 2002, Zeng commented, “Although I am 70, I regard myself as 35, having discounted the 30 or so years that were wasted in the tumultuous political movements and hard labor. I’m inclined to think that my career in art has just reached its peak.”