Accept Everything in Life as a Teacher – Art Exhibition Commemorating 100th Birthday of Yuan Xiaocen unveiled in National Art Museum of China
Accept Everything in Life as a Teacher – Art Exhibition Commemorating 100th Birthday of Yuan Xiaocen was inaugurated on June 26, 2015 in the National Art Museum of China. The exhibition was sponsored jointly by the National Art Museum of China, Yunnan Provincial Party Committee Publicity Department, Yunnan Provincial Culture Department, Yunnan Provincial Federation of Literary and Art Circles, and Yunnan Academy of Arts.
Yuan (1915—2008), a native of Puding, Guizhou Province, served as chairman of the Yunnan branch of the Chinese Artists Association, director of the Chinese Artists Association, and tenured professor of Yunnan Academy of Arts. In 1938, he held his first personal art exhibition in Kunming city. In 1959, he participated in the plastic arts exhibition of socialist countries in the Soviet Union. In 1964, he held the Yuan Xiaocen Individual Sculpture Works Exhibition in the National Art Museum of China, the first sculpture show run by the authorities for an individual in New China, and also the first individual sculpture show in the museum since its establishment. From the late 1970s to the early 1990s, he was invited to hold many individual exhibitions in Japan, Switzerland and the United States. In 1992, he was accepted by the American Sculptors Association as the first member from China. His works are collected by the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, the National Art Museum of China, and art galleries in the United States, Japan and Switzerland.
Yuan made remarkable achievements in traditional Chinese painting and sculpture. His art was established in his own life experience, showing distinct regional feature of Yunnan. He advocated that art should “benefit people with the enjoyment of beauty” In his later life, he showed up the inclination to return to the “Chinese classical spirit” that integrated realistic painting and freehand brushwork. His art surpassed the region and time.
The exhibition shows over 50 pieces of sculpture works, 20 traditional Chinese paintings and 150 unpublished manuscripts in line with the sequence of artistic development of Yuan. The sculpture works were representative ones of various periods, clearly showed his art course of preferring the “realistic” style, turning to the “freehand” style and returning to the “literati spirit”, while constantly integrating many traditional sculpture forms. The traditional Chinese paintings were on various subjects, showing Yuan’s achievements of incorporating the “regional natural and cultural landscapes” of Yunnan into the traditional Chinese painting. The 150-odd unpublished manuscripts were available to audiences for the first time. They recorded Yuan’s lively feelings in the face of the world. Some manuscripts kept records of the whole process of Yuan’s sketching, making up mental outline and creation. Some manuscripts also offered valuable insights of Yuan over art issues.