Collection and Connoisseurship of Painting and Calligraphy of Wu Hufan


Date:2015-12-10 ~ 2016-03-13
Venue:Chinese Painting Gallery

       The first half of the 20th century witnessed a large scale of divergence and convergence of ancient Chinese paintings and calligraphy, which has defined the structure of contemporary artwork collections all over the world. Connoisseurs of ancient paintings and calligraphy, represented by Wu Hufan in Shanghai, opportunely witnessed and experienced such historic phenomenon. They achieved the excellence of connoisseurship, which was greatly attributed to that special era.
   Wu Hufan (1894-1968) was honored the “Leader of Painters” in the South Yangtze area at his time due to his outstanding achievement on creative activities, collection and research on paintings among his peers. Wu’s house, named Plum Scenery Studio (Meijing Shuwu) which was the main art center at that time for exchanging and appreciating ancient paintings and calligraphy with the extensive private collection, maintained the study of traditional literati painting. The first half of the 20th century was an important chapter in the history of the connoisseurship of ancient Chinese paintings and calligraphy. Such works of art appeared in Shanghai during that period, including those from the collection of the Palace Museum kept temporarily in Shanghai in 1930s, could cover almost all public and private collections nowadays from home and abroad. Besides, the connoisseurship events as well as the research achievements at that time were important components of the study history of Chinese Painting. Similar to later connoisseurs such as Zhang Heng, Wu Hufan stood for both traditional literati and modern scholars as he began to combine modern scientific methods with traditional Chinese research approaches in his study.
   Shanghai Museum, as a main institution for collecting the ancient paintings and calligraphy formerly collected and appreciated by Wu Hufan, organizes the current exhibition with 97 sets (or 113 pieces) of selected works of art. The exhibition aims at a comprehensive illustration of the features of collection in Plum Scenery Studio, displaying the ancient paintings and calligraphy, art works and connoisseurship manuscripts by Wu himself, as well as some well-known tablet rubbings and ancient rare books. The highlighted ancient paintings and calligraphy cover more than a millennium from Tang to Qing dynasty, as evidenced by Wu’s large-scale collection.