Fu Juan-fu (1910-2007) was born in Hangzhou in Zhejiang Province. Hi given name was Bao Qing, and was known by the nom de plumes Jue Ong and Xue Hua Cun Ren. Fu later took on the name Juan-fu. He practiced meditation (Fei Meng Cao Hall), and was inducted into the prestigious Xi Len Seal Society when he was twenty years old. Fu taught at the Military Staff School, and was professor at the National Taiwan University of the Arts. Fu was most adept at expressing the seasonal changes in water and clouds – here his exuberant creativity and his keen observations of nature come to the fore. He eschewed fame and fortune, and was honest and righteous by nature, which won him many admirers among his peers. At one time, he had spearheaded an artists’ enclave with ten other artists. In retirement, Fu immigrated to the San Francisco Bay Area to live with his children. He named his home there the “Fei Meng Cao Hall.” Fu was married for 58 years to madam Xi Te-fang who was often seen by his side, and the pair was often described as being inseparable and deeply in love. Fu Juan-fu passed away while in the United States, in 2007.
Fu Juan-fu was famed for his ability to capture the turbulent seas with his brush and ink work, and was often described as “preeminent in both clouds and water.” After spending time observing and sketching the mountains and waters of Taiwan, he developed a technique of pointillism and texturizing with ink and brush. The mountains of Taiwan are volcanic rock formations; its cliffs are steep as though split by celestial ax. Fu observed the feel of the cliff faces along the Cross Island Highway, and the Hualien and Taitung coastal region and developed a split-texturizing technique. Where traditionally waves were painted with lines, he used a splatter technique that enabled him to capture the variations in the strength of the surf, so much so that one could almost feel the sound of the crashing waves. His work Running Waves is archetypal of his style. The crests and surf of the waves beat against the steep cliffs like snow drifts, and the scars from the ages of doing battle against the sea are clearly visible on the cliff face. The cliff walls and the wide expanse of the sea in the far distance form a clear contrast: one near, one far; one real, one illusive – creating an effect similar to the style made famous by Ma Yuan and Xia Gui of the Southern Sung Dynasty. The power of the sea depicted by Fu’s free and confident strokes of the brush and ink resonate palpably with the viewer.
Fu began studying landscape brush and ink paintings under Wang Qian-lo at age 17. During the war, he relocated to the Sichuan region and studied with Chen Zhi-fo. His landscapes reference the style of the Sung and Yuan Dynasties, and he specialized in calligraphy and painting. Stylistically, Fu’s work can be categorized into three periods. The first period consists of the delicate and aesthetically pleasing landscapes he did while in his ancestral home in Hangzhou when he began his study of traditional brush and ink landscapes. The second period consists of work completed during his nine years in the Sichuan region when he was inspired by the dramatic and unusual cliff formations in Guilin, the dense vegetation of the Sanxia Mountains, and the rapid treacherous waters of the Yangtze River to make artistic breakthroughs. The third period began in 1949, when he immigrated to Taiwan. Here, his lifetime of observing the scenes of nature, the vital and ever-changing mountains and waters served as fertile muse for four decades of creativity. His large-scale landscapes were completed late in his career, when his constant creativity gave way to a style that obviates the structure of outline for direct color application. Fu, along with the “Three Masters who Crossed the Sea”: Pu Hsin-yu (Pu Ru), Chang Dai-ch’ien, and Huang Jun-bi, were all masters of traditional brush-and-ink to arrived on Taiwan’s shores in 1949. Fu devoted himself to studying the traditions of historical literati paintings to develop his own characteristic style, and had a significant effect on educating a new generation of Taiwanese traditional brush-and-ink practices. Chang Dai-ch’ien’s technique for combining the dashing ink and color with ancient Dunhuang murals created a new semi-abstract style of brush-and-ink painting and opened new paths of contemporary brush and ink works. Huang Jun-bi created his unique style by combining his study of the Qing Dynasty techniques with the translucency, contrast, shadows and framing in Western art. His depiction of waterfalls have had a tremendous influence on later generations of artists, and his use of light and shadow, influenced by Western art, has had a tremendous impact on brush-and-ink art. Fu Juan-fu is from a different stylistic school, one of establishing his unique style from observing nature in his depiction of landscape. He combines the unique characteristics of the brush, rice paper, and traditional texturizing methods to create his own technique. In an era of folk realism in Taiwan, his technique had a significant influence on the brush-and-ink trends of the time. He is one of Taiwan’s original brush-and-ink grandmasters.
|English title：||Running Waves|
|Medium / Classification：||ink painting and calligraphy|
|Life-span：||1910 - 2007|
|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|