Pan Yuliang (Pan Yu-liang)
[Chinese Painter, 1895-1977]
Pan Yuliang's complicated life gets more plentiful after her participation in art, with her defying and fending characteristics and through movies and teleplays, the world could rediscover her talent and her art. In 2006 spring, her solo exhibition "Pan Yuliang - the painting soul" was held in National Museum of History and National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts, through 120 paintings, her life and her art were clearly displayed, and the Pan Yu-liang fever is on the rise.
As one of the earliest Chinese painters in France, Pan Yu-liang had great passion and her talent; she is one of the best Chinese artists in the past century. With Shanghai professor Hong Ye's enlightenment and the principle in Shanghai Art School Liu Haisu, teacher Wang Jiyuan's support, she successfully enrolled to Sino-French Institute, Ecole Nationale des Beaux-Arts de Lyon, Ecole des Beaux-Arts de Paris, and National Arts Institute in Rome, and her pursuing knowledge clearly shows the steadfast and persevering will she has. She was an illiterate person who loves to embroider, but after graduation, she was appointed to the director of Shanghai Art School and the professor of National Nanjing University. Like what Liu Haisu said, Pan Yuliang is a "warrior of beauty" in her life. After she went to Europe, she participated countless French Salon exhibitions and had received French National Gold Award (1945), Belgium Brussels Sliver Prize (1958), Paris prix d'Or (1959), and medaille d'Honneur de la Societe' Encouragement au Progres (1971). Her life had been documented in "Dictionnaire des peintres, sculpteurs, dessinateurs et graveurs" and French "Dictionnaire de la peinture Larousse".
She devoted her life to art, had been pursuing the ideal of "combining Chinese and western paintings into one", and that's how Pan Yuliang paved her own artistic style, she had outstanding performances in oil, ink paintings, sketches and sculptures, accomplished a cross-boundary achievement. Especially her oil paintings concealed the essence of eastern ink paintings, with glamorous and elegance, well arranged colors and vivid lines. Her ink paintings has precise brush stroke, energetic lines, and she even bravely adopted the post-impressionism techniques, to enrich the expressions in her ink paintings. Pan Yuliang was acclaimed as the "Master of western paintings in China", and many art critics agreed with that after her visit to Europe. Famous Sinologist and art historiographer in French, Vadime Elisseeff (1918-2002) commented Pan Yuliang's work: "Her paintings combined with advantaged from both Chinese and western paintings, she, however, had given personal characteristics to the colors. Her sketches have Chinese traditional strokes, with vivid lines to describe the softness and freedom of the entity, and this is Pan Yuliang's unique style. Her oil paintings concealed with techniques from Chinese traditional ink paintings, she used pure and fresh colors to embellish the picture, the color depths and density lives closely to the lines, and naturally revealed the distance, the light and shade, the false and true or the picture, which is living and vivid-Kher using the brush of Chinese calligraphy to paint the world has become one of the contributions to the art history. ", and Michael Sullivan, the art historiographer from England, also praised Pan Yuliang as "one of the only few extraordinary Chinese painters who is able to meld Chinese and western art beautifully ".
Most of Pan Yu-liang's work are collected in the China Anhui Museum, however, some are also collected in China National Museum of Fine Arts, French Musee Cernuschi de Paris, Musee de la ville de Paris, National Educational Institute of France, and Taipei Fine Arts Museum. Among them, the Anhui Museum collection is major come from the artist's legacy, with a total of over 4000 pieces, there are 361 oil paintings, 393 ink paintings, 3892 sketches, drafts, manuscripts, 4 sculptures, 6 engravings and 13 block prints included. Except from the museum collections, there are only 10 oil paintings in the market, that's why her works are precious.
The high peak of her oil painting creations laid between 1937 and 1942, the second time, her revisiting France. Since then she concentrated on the study of Chinese paintings, meld the characteristics of lines with the features in Pointillism and Fauvism to create a brand new style, she even asked for advice from Chang Ta-Chien, and learn from each other by exchanging views; on the other hand, she also began to sculp, that's how she developed her nude paintings with sculpture features during the 1950's, and achieved another peak in her artistic life.
"Nude" was finished in 1951; the artist is in her mature stage of the development in melding oil and ink paintings, during that time, the amount of her oil painting creations gradually reduced, because she was more into the study of ink paintings. The background of this painting reflects the white space concept in eastern paintings, used darker lines to draw the outline of back of the nude lady. Women's body is the most elements in the artist's life. Before her attending to Shanghai Art School, the principle was upbraided as the "traitor in the art scene" because of his nude painting exhibitions, and he was also charged by the warlord because of his model teachings. And during her study in Shanghai Art School, she paid more attention on nude paintings; she even painted in women's public shower rooms, and got cursed and beaten. However, she never gave up nude paintings because of this; she was more confirmed about it. She even painted her own nude in the mirror in those conservative years. With a bias on painting nudes, she has more freedom after she went to Paris.
On one hand, because she was trained by European academies, and enthroned this spirit of classical paintings; on the other hand, she seemed trying to liberate women's long-time suppressed status, to reverse her frustration and unfair treatments in the past, what's why she prefer to paint women nudes. Her paintings doesn't carry any sexual descriptions, they bear social criticisms and human concerns, displays an attitude towards selfcelebration.
Except from the influences from the classical academy trainings, Pan Yuliang's paintings are in general influenced by the master of Fauvism, Matisse, there are brightly colored chair cushions serve as a contrast next to the nude. Especially by portraying the "backs" of women as the symbol of perseverance and the strength of life, she also emphasizes the quantity in the sculptures with the lines and brush strokes on the shoulders and arms. She also placed the bottom of the nude in the center of the picture; it's also one of her unique arrangements. Her modeling of the nudes can be easily associated with Renoir's nudes. Even though they were living in different eras, like Renoir, Pan Yu-liang also chosen fat women as subjects, they both had their unique way to display the sheen on the skin, to praise the wonder of women body. The arrangement in this red "Nude" imitates what western masters did, the lines concealed the brightness of the east, and Pan Yu-liang used her unique crossing lines to set off lights and shades, it is a very successful and representative work.