Born 1909 in the gullies of the Benxi Mountains in Liaoning, Ma graduated from the Liaoning Provincial Normal University in Shenyang with a degree in Specialized Education (art, music and physical education). He taught at regional normal universities in Liaoning and Beijing, and in 1948 he went on a travel and sketching tour throughout Shanghai, Suzhou, Hangzhou, Yangzhou, etc., and arrived in Taiwan. In 1949 he was appointed professor at the Taiwan Normal University’s Department of Fine Arts, where he taught until his retirement in 1974. He was devoted to arts education in Taiwan. In addition to his teaching duties at the Normal University, he also taught at the National University of the Arts and the Chinese Cultural University. Ma was director of the Art Society of China, and served as a jury member for the Provincial Exhibition, and the Ministry of Education Arts Award. He published the book “Illustrated Guide to Watercolor Techniques” in 1957, and was hailed as “Master of Watercolor Painting” for his contribution to arts education in Taiwan. Ma was the recipient of numerous awards, including the Golden Goblet prize in the 1964 Museum of History National Watercolor Exhibition, the Medal of Arts from the Ministry of Education in 1965, and the Washington Gold Medal in 1979 awarded by the Brush and Ink Association of the United States. In 1990, a 80-year retrospective exhibition of his work was held in the Provincial (now National) Museum of Fine Arts. In 1999, the National Museum of History invited Ma for a 90-year retrospective. That same year, he received an honorary Doctor of Fine Arts (honoris causa) from the Dewey College of Stony Brook University. Ma died on January 7, 2003 in New York.
The composition of this work evolves the Western focal perspective into the various methods of perspective in Chinese brush and ink such as the high-distant, horizontal distance, and depth of distance, and Ma’s unique “combined” composition. Integrating the accordion screen and long scroll composition techniques of the brush-and-ink, the overall painting can be separated into many individual paintings, each constituting a distinct landscape, and combining to form a larger cohesive landscape. In this way, the painting can stretch to fit spaces. This work depicts snow-capped Jade Mountain, and consists of 14 individual paintings. It references the work of Piet Cornelis Mondrian (1872-1944) in its rational quadrilateral geometric divisions. The painting gives the illusion of seeing majestic views of Jade Mountain through a large window.
Ma Pai-sui’s early works were reminiscent of 19th century British watercolors. In 1964, he gradually melded Western watercolors with Eastern brush and ink techniques to develop a ink and color art with Eastern characteristics. His creative vision stems from a philosophy that combines the East and West, the ancient and contemporary, from which he developed his unique visual vocabulary. Ma played a central role in developing modern Taiwanese watercolor art. His style of watercolors originate in the West, but bring out the uniqueness of the East, reinterpreting Eastern thought through the richness of Western colors.
|English title：||Mt. Jade in Snow|
|Medium / Classification：||Watercolor|
|Life-span：||1909 - 2003|
|Collection Unit：||National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts|
|Contact method for authorization：||
Guide to the Use of Image Files and Data from the Online Collection Database
|Related Exhibition：||Unique Vision：Highlights from the National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts Collection|