Lin Fengmian


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Lin Fengmian is a chinese painter born in 1900, in Meixang, and died in 1991 in Hong Kong. A great part of his work was devoted to the desire of mixing Eastern and Western Art.

After graduating from high school, he moved to France, where he studied European painting at the Dijon Art College and the École des Beaux Arts in Paris. His work has been shown several times at the prestigious Salon d’Automne in Paris, and in 1923, 42 of his paintings were displayed in the Exhibition of Chinese Ancient and Modern Art in Strasbourg, France.

In 1925, Lin returned to Beijing, where he had his first solo exhibition one year later. Lin strove to capture the essence of both Eastern and Western art in order to achieve a new synthesis. He also emulated aspects of the distortion and simplification of Chinese folk art in his use of rich colours and bold, rapid brushstrokes.

Into this he integrated the emotive qualities of European masters such as Henri Matisse, Pablo Picasso, and Georges Rouault. These influences led him to create painting set against a monochromatic background of ink wash-and-line drawing that were deftly furnished with gorgeous colours set in forceful motion. The resulting rhythm of clear but changeable light and intense sentiment became known as the “Lin Fengmian Style”.

In 1927 Lin became a member of the Committee for the National Art Education and helped establish the National Art College, now known as the Zhejiang College of Fine Arts. In 1938 he became director of the National Art Academy, an amalgamation of the Hangzhou and Beiping art academies. He was the preceptor of the most renowned chinese painters, including Zhao Wuji, Li Keran, Wu Guanzhong, and Xi Dejin. He became the central figure in shaping the development of Western art training in China.

In 1966 the artist was targeted by the Cultural Revolution. Fearing prosecution, Lin destroyed many of his experimental works but was nonetheless imprisoned for four years. In 1977, when the Revolution ended, he traveled to Hong Kong and had a hugely successful exhibition, the first of many successful international retrospectives of his work in the late 20th century.