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Red Camellia
Red Camellia, 1368-1644
Ink and color on silk; mounted as an album leaf
10 1/8 x 10 1/8 inches (25.7 x 25.7 cm)
Purchased with Museum funds from the Simkhovitch Collection, 1929
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Flowers for Every Season
September 15, 1988 - July 15, 1989
The delicate nature of works on paper and silk necessitates the frequent rotation of paintings. The current installation features the art of flower painting. Through the centuries, Chinese artists have delighted in depicting the flowers of every season.

In some cases, such as the lovely album painting of a red camellia, the artist reveals an interest in a realistic depiction of the natural form.

There is also another tendency among Chinese painters to let the calligraphic lines of orchid or bamboo leaves dictate the flow of their brushes. This is especially evident in the ink painting of artists such as Hsu Wei, represented by his magnificent Sixteen Flowers scroll. The relationship to calligraphy is emphasized by the inscription of a poem on the painting.

The decorative style of Ch'ing Dynasty artists is reflected in the painting Flowers on a Vase attributed to Lang Shih-ning (Castiglione), the Italian painter who served as an official artist to the Imperial Court in the eighteenth century. Chinese ceramics and costumes of the period reflect the love of elegant floral decoration as well.

Twentieth-century artists such as Ch'i Pai Shih combine traditional and new elements to translate their vision of nature into a modern style.

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