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Metamorphosis Liu Dan’s Fantastic Landscape and the Renaissance


Metamorphosis Liu Dan’s Fantastic Landscape and the Renaissance MMXVIII

Metamorphosis Liu Dan’s Fantastic Landscape and the Renaissance

NICHOLAS HALL 17 East 76th Street New York NY 10021





Nicholas H. J. Hall


Perceiving the Seven Pillars of Wisdom

Liu Dan



Robert E. Harrist, Jr.


Old Master Works on Paper




FOREWORD It is an honor to introduce a recent major work by the celebrated painter Liu Dan (b. 1953), Perceiving the Seven Pillars of Wisdom as the centerpiece of this exhibition of works on paper. About twenty blocks up from our gallery on Madison Avenue is an apartment where Liu Dan lived in the 1990s. We may have crossed paths unwittingly in this neighborhood, although it was in the autumn of 2012 in Hong Kong that I first got to know him, looking at what are perhaps his most recognizable paintings, a series of Scholar’s Rocks. Like many others coming from the classical European art tradition, I was struck by the paintings’ monumentality and otherworldliness; at the same time, they had a universal and timeless quality that felt strangely familiar. A few years later, I visited Liu Dan’s studio, an oasis of tranquility and civilization. Over tea, wine and cigarettes, he showed me a collection of miniature photographs of European Old Master paintings, stealthily shot from textbooks during the Cultural Revolution; the tiny images, among which I can recall a skewed reproduction of Correggio’s Jupiter and Io, had intellectually sustained him through difficult times. A friendship had begun. Following frequent visits to Liu Dan’s studio, the complexity and originality of his work, which is so eloquently described by Robert Harrist in the following pages, made a profound impression on me. In recent years, Liu Dan’s paintings have taken a new direction, exploring historical European sources and influences. The references may not be immediately obvious but the subtle cultural interplay at work is what lies behind our title, Metamorphosis. Within this context, Liu Dan has worked on a number of projects with museums like the British Museum, London, the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford and the Minneapolis Institute of Art. In New York, however, this new development in his oeuvre remains unseen by the public. This exhibition is the first in New York to present a major painting by Liu Dan in the context of its original European point of reference, in 6

this case, a print of Christ Carrying the Cross by the German Renaissance artist Martin Schongauer (ca. 1435/50–1491). Exhibited alongside this pairing is a small group of Old Master drawings, all of which were once owned by artists. This has a particular significance, not only because Liu Dan is inspired by Western works on paper but also because he is a collector of Old Master drawings and appreciates them from the unique perspective of a practicing artist. I would like to thank, first and foremost, Liu Dan for entrusting us to present his work in our new gallery and for his support over the years. My thanks go to Robert E. Harrist Jr., the prominent scholar of Classical Chinese paintings, who has committed much of his personal time while teaching in Paris to share with us his insights. James Lally and Daniel Eskenazi have also been exceptionally generous with their advice. We are grateful for Yuan-li Hou’s professional guidance that has allowed us to handle and present Liu Dan’s work with sensitivity and style. This exhibition would not have been possible without the combined efforts of our lean team, Bayan Talgat, Sara Land and Oliver Rordorf, as well as our designer, Larry Sunden. I would like to thank Mark Brady, Stephen Ongpin and Armin Kunz for the generous loans of Old Master works on paper which they arranged. Lastly, I am grateful to Yuan Fang, my wife and business partner, who has worked tirelessly on every detail of this project from its inception. Nicholas H. J. Hall August 2018


Liu Dan

Born Nanjing, China 1953 Perceiving the Seven Pillars of Wisdom, 2015 Ink on rice paper 114 x 365 cm. Signed: 金陵刘丹畫 (Painted by Liu Dan of Jinling [Nanjing]) provenance Collection of the artist exhibited London, Eskenazi, Transfigured Echoes: Recent Paintings by Liu Dan, 2015, exhibition catalogue, cat. no. 8. Minneapolis, Minneapolis Institute of Art, Ink Unbound: Paintings by Liu Dan, 2016, exhibition catalogue, cat. no. 13, reproduced.

“The function of art is to make one leave behind the ‘certainties’ in life and enter a state of uncertainity.” —Liu Dan1

Uncertainties Robert E. Harrist, Jr. Liu Dan’s Perceiving the Seven Pillars of Wisdom (p. 8) plunges the viewer into a realm of visual uncertainties. The writhing, monochrome forms spread across this large handscroll evoke memories of classical Chinese paintings, but no other pictorial vistas, however fantastic, resemble the panorama conjured up by Liu Dan. There are mountains, cliffs, boulders, and water—the familiar constituent elements of Chinese landscape painting, but close looking seems to reveal other forms emerging from the terrain—bodies, limbs, and faces—that undermine certainity about the reliability of our own eyes. The painting apparently was produced with brush and ink on paper—the materials used by Chinese artists for many centuries, but the infinitely varied gradations of ink tone seem to have no precedents outside Liu Dan’s own art. Discerning how these effects were achieved challenges the eye of even an experienced connoisseur. The current exhibition resolves some but not all of the uncertainties generated by Liu Dan’s painting. Like a number of his recent works, Perceiving the Seven Pillars of Wisdom was inspired by an image from Europe utterly foreign to the tradition of Chinese ink painting that Liu Dan has mastered through a lifetime of study, and that lies, literally, at his fingertips.2 This image, shown with Liu Dan’s painting, is an engraving by Martin Schongauer (ca. 1435/50–1491), Christ Carrying the Cross of 1475–80 (p. 26). At the center of the composition, Christ collapses under the weight of his burden as he is pulled along by ropes held by his executioners. Surrounding him, moving leftward, is a churning crowd of spear-bearing riders, grotesque figures on foot, loutish onlookers, and two dogs. Farther to the left in the middle distance, the two condemned thieves who will be crucified with Christ trudge forward, both almost naked. In the distance the Virgin and St. John, with a group of women, watch the procession in despair. Although it is set in a landscape of contorted boulders that evoke the destination of the grim procession—Golgotha, “The place of the skull”—Schongauer’s intensely spiritual print focuses on human 17

figures and animals in motion.Yet in this masterpiece of fifteenthcentury German graphic art, Liu Dan found the visual and expressive kernel of his spectacular landscape. The juxtaposition of the two works makes possible an exploration of some of the processes of Liu Dan’s transformative imagination, though much will remain uncertain. The language of critical and art-historical writing on Chinese painting seems at first to offer a convenient way to categorize what Liu Dan has done in transforming the Schongauer print: it could be said that the artist has engaged in the practice of fang or “creative imitation.” Responding to a pre-existing work by an earlier master, he has not copied the print but has created a free variation on it. Like Dong Qichang (1555–1636) and his followers during the Qing dynasty (1644–1911), who painted countless reinterpretations of Song (960–1279) and Yuan paintings (1279–1368), Liu Dan has discovered underlying visual rhythms, essential masses of form, and contrasts of light and dark in the work of an earlier artist and has made these the basis for a tenuously but unmistakably related image. As appealing as this interpretation sanctioned by a centuries-long discourse of Chinese painting may seem to a critic or art historian, it is painfully inadequate: in comparison with what Liu Dan has done in Perceiving the Seven Pillars of Wisdom based on the Schongauer print, the practice of fang seems no more than timid academicism. Liu’s painting draws on a more psychologically and artistically complex deployment of imagination that has a place in the history of both Chinese and European art. In his remarks on painting, the eleventh-century polymath and connoisseur Song Di (1031–1095) offers the following advice to painters: You should first look for a damaged wall, and then stretch plain silk against it. Gaze at it day and night. When you have looked for a sufficient length of time, you will see through the silk the high and low parts, or curves and angles on the surface of the wall, which will take on the appearance of landscape . . . the high parts will become mountains and the low parts, water; crevices will become valleys and cracks, torrents . . . As your spirit leads and


your imagination constructs, you will see indistinctly the images of human beings, birds, grasses, and trees flying or moving about.3 Song Di’s proposed method of discerning landscapes in the chance configuration of folds, pleats, and shadows on cloth spread over the irregular surface of a ruined wall pre-dates by several centuries similar advice found in the writings of Leonardo da Vinci (1452–1519): Look at walls splashed with a number of stains or stones of various mixed colors . . .You can see there resemblances to a number of landscapes, adorned in various ways with mountains, rivers, rocks, trees, great plains, valleys and hills . . . figures, strange expressions on faces, costumes, and an infinite number of things . . . Stop sometimes and look into the stains of walls, or the ashes of a fire, or clouds, or mud, or like things, in which, if you consider them well, you will find really marvelous ideas.4 What the two writers, Chinese and Italian, propose is an activation of visual imagination that psychologists call projection: finding in random configurations of nature—rocks, clouds, branches of trees— resemblances to human faces or bodies, animals, or all manner of real or mythic creatures. Projection is often first experienced in the childhood pastime of gazing at clouds and seeking out fanciful likenesses in their ever-changing shapes. At the heart of this experience is the capacity to look at one thing and see something else.5 It is through projection also that natural patterns in marble have been interpreted as landscapes by Chinese collectors of stone pictures or shihua, often called Dali stones in reference to the area of Yunnan Province where the best stones are said to be found. Sliced into thin panels and mounted in wooden frames to be displayed on tabletops or hung on a wall, or inset in pieces of furniture, stone pictures stir the imagination of viewers who look at the streaks in the marble and see misty mountain ranges or soaring peaks that resemble those depicted in Chinese ink landscapes. A stone of this kind in the collection of Liu Dan displays a mottled band of greyish shapes—the result of mineral deposits in the marble—that look uncannily like a jagged mountain range and rising clouds (fig. 1).


To see a landscape in a stone picture, the mind and eye of a viewer must be alert and flexible, prepared to release imaginative faculties found in the highest degree in artists like Liu Dan. His engagement with the Schongauer print might be interpreted as an unusually subtle act of projection: in a scene dominated by human figures and animals, Liu discovered analogies for landscape forms. The figures in the print do not look like rocks, boulders, or mountains, but the twisted, gnarly outlines of their bodies and clothing, the areas of dense and sparse texturing, and contrasts of light and shade created by minute hatch marks that Schongauer engraved into the original copperplate morph into elements of landscape, as if subject to an alchemical transformation performed by Liu Dan.

Fig. 1 A small huanghua li and dalishi marble table screen, Ming dynasty, 70 x 69 x 27.5 cm. (at base)., stone inset 33 x 57 x 2.5 cm. Collection of Liu Dan.


The transit from figures to landscape achieved in Liu Dan’s response to the print is akin to but reverses another type of projection well known to travelers and to viewers of certain types of Chinese paintings: instead of figures turning into landscape, as in Liu Dan’s painting, geological formations become the bodies of deities, monks, supernatural maidens, animals, or birds. At nearly all scenic areas in China are formations bearing names such as “Bodhisattva Peak,” “Old Man Cliff,” or “Parrot Rock.” These names are conferred by travelers and landscape enthusiasts who discern in the chance configurations of nature resemblances codified by the site names. These fanciful likenesses, not made by human hands, are the subjects of many paintings and woodblock prints from the Ming (1368–1644) and Qing periods. In an anonymous painting of the Yandang Mountains of Zhejiang Province, in the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, bizarre figures emerge from the rugged terrain (fig. 2). Similar chance likenesses appear in paintings by Dai Benxiao (1631–1693), Shitao (1642–1707) and the monk-artist Xuezhuang (active 17th cent.), and they are ubiquitous in topographical guide books such as the MarvelousViews within the Seas (Hainei qiguan) published in 1609 (fig. 3).6

Fig. 2 Unidentified artist, formerly attributed to Xu Ben (d. 1403), Scenery of MountYandang, ca. 15th cent. Sections of a handscroll, ink and color on silk. Total dimensions, 24.3. x 340.5 cm. Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Julia Bradford Huntington James Fund.

Discerning landscapes within marble plaques or figures in the silhouettes of mountain peaks rouse the imagination and prepare us to return to Liu Dan’s Perceiving the Seven Pillars of Wisdom Seven Pillars of Wisdom. Aware also of the relationship between the German engraving and Liu’s ink painting, and familiar also with other works generated by his study of a Raphael drawing and a seventeenth-century Dutch oil painting, we scan Liu’s work with eyes primed to seek out and savor transformations, ambiguities, and uncertainties. Do we see bodies and faces remembered from the Schongauer print embedded in the landscape or are we giving rein to our own capacity for projection, to our tendency to look at one thing and see something else (figs. 4, 5, 6)? The resemblances seem to be there, but are they? The answer is uncertain.

Fig. 3 Marvelous Views within the Seas (Hainei qiguan), 1609. Starr Library, Columbia University.

Embedded in Liu Dan’s painting are mysteries of pictorial imagination and formal invention; no less mysterious, and uncertain, upon a first encounter are the means through which he achieves a seemingly infinite range of tonal and textural effects. The Schongauer engraving that inspired Liu Dan itself 21

Figs. 4, 5, 6 Detail of Liu Dan (b. 1953), Perceiving the Seven Pillars of Wisdom.

displays a remarkable variety of shading and textures; but Liu Dan’s craft yields subtleties that likely would have amazed the German printmaker. Liu does not appear to rely on the Chinese painter’s traditional repertory of outlines, texture strokes, and ink washes. The gradations of tone, largely independent of drawn contours, are like smoke blown onto the painting surface, collecting in dense, velvety billows or dispersing to reveal untouched paper. In her meticulous study of Liu’s methods and materials, Shelagh Vainker has documented the attention the artist devotes to the texture and sizing of his painting paper made in Anhui Province and to the goat and weasel hair brushes he employs. Vainker has noted also what is perhaps the most remarkable feature of Liu Dan’s paintings—the minute touches of ink applied with a dry brush, built up slowly, with intense concentration. Rather than the calligraphic gestures dominant in much of Chinese ink painting, 22

these brush strokes are the foundation of Liu Dan’s painting technique, yielding astonishing vivid textures and shading in his well-known paintings of Chinese Scholar’s Rocks (fig. 7).7 Even after his painting technique has been subjected to probing analysis, a viewer continues to wonder: how does he do it? Looking at and thinking about Liu Dan’s Perceiving the Seven Pillars of Wisdom carries an attentive viewer through different levels of appreciation and intellectual engagement. The fantastic complexity of the landscape immediately attracts the eye and invites slow exploration. This visual seduction intensifies as secondary images of bodies and faces emerge from the landscape, like forms remembered from a restless dream, challenging the viewer to distinguish between things incorporated into the painting by Liu Dan and those projected onto it by the viewer’s own imagination. Some passages seem to yield to rational analysis of this kind, other remain unresolved and uncertain. A different kind of looking seeks to understand how the painting came into being, how Liu Dan invented techniques of ink painting that defy easy categorization. Describing his creative process, Liu Dan has said “I enjoy creating a sense of moshenggan 陌生感 [defamiliarization or estrangement.] I like to turn images into indescribable illusions by manipulating their familiar features to bring out their otherness quality . . .”8 Artists statements do not always illuminate what they actually achieve in their art, but in the case of Liu Dan, no one has described more astutely than he the strangeness, the uncertainties, and the beauty of his paintings. 1 2

Fig. 7 Liu Dan, Taihu Rock from Jiemei Studio, 2006. Ink on paper, 260 x 152.7 cm. Brooklyn Museum, Gift of the Asian Art Council, 2005 China Trip Participants, in honor of Amy G. Poster, Lisa and Bernard Selz Curator and Chair, Asian Art, 2006.19.

Quoted by Ackbar Abbas, “Liu Dan’s Art: An Introduction,” Exhibition catalogue (Eskenazi London, 2015), p. 33. These include Redefining Pleats of Matter (2015), based on a drawing by Raphael, St. Benedict Receiving Maurus and Placidus, of 1503, and Reimagining the Lystra Scene (2016), based on Willem de Poorter’s St. Paul and St. Barnabas at Lystra of 1636. See Liu Yang, Ink Unbound: Paintings by Liu Dan (Minneapolis:


Minneapolis Institute of Art), p. 45. I am indebted to Liu Yang’s study of Liu Dan, and those by Shelagh Vainker, Liu Dan: New Landscapes and Old Masters (Oxford: Ashmolean Museum of Art and Archaeology, 2016) and the essay by Ackbar Abbas cited above. I am grateful to Ms.Yuan Fang for sending me these publications and for other help in the preparation of this essay and to Ms. Josephine O’Neil for help with research. 3 Susan Bush and Hsio-yen Shih, trans. and eds., Early Chinese Texts on Painting (Cambridge, 1985), p. 122. 4 Leonardo da Vinci, trans., A. Philip McMahon, Treatise on Painting, 2 vols. (Princeton, 1956) vol. 1, pp. 50–51 5 The title Perceiving the Seven Pillars of Wisdom was chosen by the artist through an act of projection of his own. Around the time he was finishing the painting, Liu came across a reference to the Seven Pillars of Wisdom in the collected writings of Gilles Deleuze. When Liu noticed seven peak-like forms emerging on the right-hand-side of his painting, he decided to title the work Perceiving the Seven Pillars of Wisdom. The origin of this phrase appears to be Proverbs, 9:1. I am grateful to Ms.Yuan Fang for this information about the origins of the title. 6 For studies of this phenomenon, see Robert E. Harrist, Jr., “Mountains, Rocks and Picture Stones: Forms of Visual Imagination in China,” Orientations 34, no. 1 (December 2003): 39–45. 7 Vainker, Liu Dan: New Landscapes and Old Masters, p. 23. 8 Yang, Ink Unbound: Paintings by Liu Dan, p. 38.




Martin Schongauer Colmar ca. 1430/1450–1491 Breisach

Christ Carrying the Cross, ca. 1475–80 Engraving 288 x 430 mm. Bartsch 21; Lehrs and The New Hollstein 9 Watermark: Large letter A (Lehrs 1; recorded for another impression of this print at the Kunsthalle Hamburg) provenance

Unknown collector’s mark showing a coat of arms, not recorded in Lugt Private collection, USA A good impression with various old restorations

Martin Schongauer, son of a goldsmith, was an artist based in the Alsatian city of Colmar. One of the most important artistic figures north of the Alps working in the fifteenth century, Schongauer revitalized German painting and is considered one of the fathers of the art of engraving. He used the techniques he would have learnt from his father, the virtuoso draughtsmanship of a master goldsmith and applied it, through dramatic decorative linear patterns and elaborate cross-hatching to suggest modelling. Schongauer, who must have been aware of the advances made by Rogier van der Weyden and Hans Memling in the southern Netherlands, brought to engraving a comparable elegance and clarity of line which makes his narrative content completely persuasive. In doing so, he revolutionized the medium. Works such as the Temptation of St Anthony (Schongauer was closely linked to the Antonine hospital in I ssenheim for whom Grunewald painted his famous altarpiece) and Christ Carrying the Cross are milestones in the history of graphic art. Martin Schongauer’s opus magnum is not only the largest intaglio print of the fifteenth century in the North, it is also, arguably, the most ambitious engraving of its day. While its overall theme and certain elements refer to visual sources that ultimately go back to a lost work by Jan van Eyck (documented in a later copy now in Budapest) and also reflect a knowledge of the work of Rogier van der Weyden and Dirk Bouts, Schongauer makes the composition entirely his own. The distinct groups of soldiers of the Eyckian model are now densely intermingled 26


in a multitude of more than 50 vividly described figures arranged in a sweeping arc that starts out from Jerusalem in the background at right and leads up to Golgotha on the far left. And notably, the reproducibility of Schongauer’s chosen medium meant that this print became an iconographic model in its own right for the next half-century and beyond. Lehrs lists no fewer than five early copies, including one in reverse by Israhel van Meckenem. Landau and Parshall therefore quite rightly suggest that “it is no exaggeration to say that this was the most influential print made in Northern Europe throughout the full span of our inquiry [i.e. the period from 1470 to 1550]� (The Renaissance Print, p. 53).



Pietro Buonaccorsi, called Perino del Vaga Florence 1501–1547 Rome

Caesar on the River Aoös Pen and brown ink and brown wash, extensively heightened with white, over traces of an underdrawing in black chalk. Framing lines in brown ink 137 x 152 mm. Inscribed Cesar Ini...[M]iro il fiume...I aniene(?) in the lower margin and, in a different hand (Lanier?), Polidoro in brown ink in the lower right margin provenance Nicholas Lanier, London (Lugt 2886) Probably John Evelyn, Deptford and London, probably By descent to J. H. C. Evelyn and Major Peter Evelyn Their posthumous sale, London, Christie’s, 6 July 1977, part of lot 1 (as Circle of Perino del Vaga) Private collection, England Anonymous sale, London, Phillips, 13 December 2000, lot 121 (as attributed to Pirro Ligorio) Mia Weiner, New York Private collection, Madrid literature Paul Joannides, “Some New Drawings by Perino del Vaga,” in Elena Parma, ed., Perino del Vaga: Prima, Durante, Dopo: Atti delle Giornate Internazionali di Studio, Genova 26–27 maggio 2001, Palazzo Doria “del Principe,” Genoa, 2004, pp. 18–19, fig. 7. Elena Parma, “Introduzione,” in Parma, ed., ibid., p. 8. Dominique Cordellier, Louis-Antoine Prat and Carel van Tuyll van Serooskerken, ed., Maîtres du Dessin Européen du XVIe au XXe Siècle: la Collection Georges Pébereau, exhibition catalogue, Paris, Musée du Louvre, 2009–10, p. 20, fig.1, under no.2 (entry by Dominique Cordellier).

The inventiveness, range and skill of Perino del Vaga’s drawings mark him as one of the most gifted draftsmen of the 16th century in Italy. Giorgio Vasari described him as “the best and most finished draughtsman that there was among all who were drawing in Rome.” His drawings range from sheets of rapid sketches to elaborate and highly finished figure and composition studies. The majority of Perino’s surviving drawings are studies in pen and ink; a medium the artist seems to have preferred for its fluidity and expressiveness. His drawings often serve as the only record of large-scale damaged or destroyed commissions, and relatively few examples can be related to surviving works. Vasari noted that Perino’s drawings were dispersed after his death, and that he him30


self owned several sheets by the artist, which he pasted into albums: “Perino left many designs at his death, some by his hand and some by others . . . All these designs, with other things, were sold by his heirs; and in our book are many drawings done by him with the pen, which are very beautiful.” Many of Perino’s drawings were sold by his daughter after his death to the art dealer Jacopo Strada in 1556. This small drawing was first attributed to Perino del Vaga by Paul Joannides in 2000, and published by him four years later. The drawing is unconnected to any surviving painting or fresco by the artist. Although Joannides identified the subject as Caesar Crossing the Rubicon, Dominique Cordellier has recently recognized that the composition in fact depicts Caesar on the River Aoös, another episode from the Civil War. The river Aoös which flows through Greece and Albania, is here personified by a river god reclining at the lower left of the composition. A closely related drawing appears on the recto of a double-sided sheet of small compositional sketches and figure studies by Perino del Vaga formerly in the Reynolds, Calando and Lebel collections and today in the collection of Georges Pébereau in Paris. The lower sketch on the recto of the Pébereau sheet is clearly preparatory for the composition of this drawing and the two are similar in size and scale. The present sheet must have been worked up from the preliminary sketch on the Pébereau drawing, although there may have been other, intervening studies. Apart from the related sketch for Caesar on the River Aoös, the drawing in the Pébereau collection includes compositional sketches for two other narrative scenes, probably all from the life of Caesar and intended for a series of such episodes. The visual sophistication evident in the design of this drawing of Caesar on the River Aoös, and the related sketches of Caesarian narratives on the Pébereau sheet of studies, would suggest that the unknown project for which they were preparatory was the result of a commission from a patron of refined taste and knowledge, perhaps someone at the papal court in Rome. Such a frieze of scenes from the life of Caesar can well be imagined as an appropriate decorative scheme for the façade or interior of a Roman palace.


While the sketch of Caesar on the River Aoös on the Pébereau drawing shows Perino at his lightest and most fluent, the present sheet is a carefully worked-up modello, with strong and decisive line-work. The differences in the composition of this drawing and that in the Pébereau collection mainly involve the placement of the figures, notably the oarsman and the master of the boat, while the empty stern of the boat in the later drawing serves as a visual platform for the gestures of Caesar’s astonished soldiers. The forms are carefully modelled with white heightening, delicately and precisely applied with the tip of the brush, which serves to emphasize the relief nature of the composition. The overall effect is inspired by Roman sarcophagus reliefs, and it would seem likely that this drawing was intended for a relief-like composition, probably in grisaille. An obvious conceptual link may be made with such works as Perino’s large monochrome canvas of The Crossing of the Red Sea in the Pinacoteca di Brera in Milan, painted in Florence in 1522. While the dating of the present sheet is difficult to establish with any precision, it would seem to have been made early in Perino’s career. It may also be noted that the facial types of the soldiers clustered in the right background recall those of Gianfrancesco Penni, Perino’s superior in the studio of Raphael; these facial types appear to have dropped out of the artist’s repertoire by the end of his first Roman period. Joannides has therefore suggested that the present sheet was drawn before Perino’s move to Genoa in 1527. The first known owner of this drawing was the 17th century court musician Nicholas Lanier (1588–1666), whose collector’s mark appears at the lower left of the sheet. Lanier was one of the foremost collectors of drawings in England in the 17th century. The attribution to Polidoro da Caravaggio at the lower right margin of the sheet would appear to be in Lanier’s hand. This drawing may have then been acquired by the writer and diarist John Evelyn (1620–1706). Although Evelyn does not mention Lanier in his diary and may not have known him, he does record two visits to the collection of Lanier’s uncle, the musician Jerome Lanier, in 1652, and would also have come under the influence of Lanier’s patron Thomas Howard, Earl of Arundel.


Girolamo Francesco Mazzola, called Parmigianino Parma 1503–1540 Casalmaggiore

The Christ Child (Study for The Vision of St. Jerome), 1526–27 Red chalk (recto), pen and brown ink (verso) 143 x 100 mm. provenance Peter Lely (1618–1680), London (Lugt 2092) Jonathan Richardson, Sr. (1665–1745), London (his stamp Lugt 2184; his shelf marks in pen and ink A.29 / B.B. 22 20 / A.A.35 / B / A) on the verso of the mount Sir Francis Ferrand Foljambe (1750–1814), Osberton Hall, Scofton near Worksop, Nottinghamshire Thence by descent literature Hugo Chapman, “Parmigianino, the Drawings. By Sylvie Beguin, Mario Di Giampaolo and Mary Vaccaro,” The Burlington Magazine, July 2002, p. 138, fig. 55. Achim Gnann, Parmigianino: Die Zeichnungen, 2 vols., Petersberg 2007, vol. 1, pp. 160, 440, no. 569, and vol. 2, p. 451, no. 569r and v (reproduced before full revelation of verso).

The red chalk study on the recto of this sheet is for the Christ Child in Parmigianino’s altarpiece of the Virgin and Child with Saints John the Baptist and Jerome (traditionally titled the Vision of Saint Jerome), now in the National Gallery in London, which—as Vasari so grippingly relates—was the work the artist was engaged upon when the Sack of Rome erupted around him in 1527. Both the basic pose of the Child and the fact that the drawing is lit from the right confirm its connection with the altarpiece, although here—uniquely among all the surviving drawings for the work—he is shown cradling a dove in his hands, a detail absent from the finished work. The Child’s right arm is shown in two alternative positions, both outstretched—as in the altarpiece—and bent across his chest to hold the dove. The precise purpose of the three studies in pen and dark brown ink on the verso is not known, but the fragmentary study of a leg may be compared to Parmigianino’s etching of a similarly disembodied arm. The three disparate sketches in pen and brown ink on the verso do not allow for an easy interpretation. The fragmentary, but closely observed 34


and detailed study of a leg may be compared to an equally enigmatic etching by the artist showing a disembodied arm which survives in a unique impression at the British Museum (inv. no. 1864,7.18.82). The central sketch, a male nude covered by a dense web of strokes, is even more puzzling—perhaps John the Baptist draped in his hairy mantle? Thematically this would link the verso to the same altarpiece as the study of the Christ Child on the recto. A drawing of a lying male nude at the Getty Museum (inv. no. 84.GA.9) helps to understand the third sketch of a male figure on the right. If one turns the drawing halfway to the side one realizes that the sketch represents a prima idea for the figure of the sleeping Saint Jerome in the altarpiece—the position of his arms gets further developed in the Getty drawing and his right arm ultimately disappears in the final painting which also has a cloth chastely draped across the saint’s loins. We are grateful to David Ekserdjian for his assistance with the cataloguing of this drawing.




Lelio Orsi

Novellara 1511–1587 Novellara

The Rape of Ganymede Pen and brown ink and brown wash, heightened with white, with touches of gouache on buff paper, with framing lines in brown ink, on light brown paper 249 x 233 mm. Inscribed Lelio da Novellara at the bottom center provenance An unidentified [d’Este or Gonzaga?] armorial collector’s mark with an eagle Maria Teresa Cybo-Malaspina, Duchess of Massa and Crown Princess of Modena, 1770 Thomas Blayds, Castle Hill, Englefield Green (Lugt 416a, as unknown), his collector’s mark TB Sir Joshua Reynolds, London (Lugt 2364) By descent to his niece, Mary Palmer, later Marchioness of Thomond Probably Lewis Loyd, Lord Overstone, Overstone Park Probably by descent to his daughter Harriet Loyd, later Lady Wantage By descent to Arthur Thomas Loyd, Lockinge House, Wantage; His posthumous sale, London, Sotheby’s, 28 November 1945, lot 35 Anonymous sale, London, Christie’s, 10 July 2001, lot 26 Flavia Ormond, London Private collection exhibited New York, Flavia Ormond Fine Arts at Adelson Galleries, Master Drawings 1500–1895, 2002, no. 2. selected literature Vincenzo Davolio, Memorie Storiche della Contea di Novellara e dei Gonzaghi che vi Dominarono, Milan, 1833, [1987 ed.], vol. III, p. 188. Vincenzo Davolio, Notizie Storiche di Lelio Orsi, 1836, MS 1836, Novellara, Museo Gonzaga. Celestino Malagoli, Memorie Storiche su Lelio Orsi, Celebre Pittore di Novellara, Guastalla, 1892, pp. 21–22. Roberto Salvini and Alberto Mario Chiodi, Mostra di Lelio Orsi: Catalogo, Reggio Emilia, 1950, exhibition catalogue, p. 6, under no. 5. Massimo Pirondini, “Opere perdute o non rintracciate,” in Elio Monducci and Massimo Pirondini, ed., Lelio Orsi, exhibition catalogue, Reggio Emilia, 1987–1988, p. 251, no. 21 (as location unknown).

“Lelio Urso in architectura magno, in pictura majori, et in Delineamentis optimo,” reads the epitaph on the tomb of Lelio Orsi, a provincial painter of considerable talent about whom relatively little is known today. He is not mentioned by Vasari or by any other early sources, and most of his paintings are now lost, save for a few easel pictures 38


and some fresco fragments. The son of a minor painter, Orsi is first recorded in 1536 in Reggio Emilia, where he worked on the design of a triumphal arch to celebrate the entry of Ercole d’Este into the city. He continued to work extensively in Reggio Emilia, decorating the façade of the Torre dell’Orologio there in 1544. By 1546 Orsi was working for the Gonzaga of Novellara, a minor branch of the Mantuan family, who remained his most important patrons throughout his career. While he may have made a first visit to Rome sometime in the late 1540s, he was definitively in the city from 1554 to 1555, and it was here that the influence of Michelangelo was added to the dominant early influence of Correggio, effecting a profound change in Orsi’s style. Throughout the 1560s he continued to work for the Gonzaga of Novellara, decorating their villa at Bagnolo and providing frescoes for the villas of the Casino di Sotto and the Casino di Sopra, as well as the Rocca di Novellara. Unfortunately, however, very little survives of any of these large-scale decorative projects. In 1563 Alfonso Gonzaga decreed that all the houses in Novellara should be decorated with facade frescoes, and Orsi was given the responsibility of designing and executing several of these, including for his own home. Several drawings by Orsi for such facade and wall decorations are known, although for the most part the frescoes themselves are not. As only fragments of his mural paintings survive, Orsi’s style as a painter is best seen in a small number of cabinet pictures of mythological and religious subjects that he produced; works which show the continued influence of Michelangelo, Correggio and the studio of Raphael. Little is known of Orsi’s activity in the last fifteen years of his career, which are thought to have been spent working in Reggio Emilia before his death in Novellara at the age of seventy-six. Lelio Orsi’s drawings have survived in greater number than his paintings, and were highly regarded in his lifetime. Often displaying the influence of Michelangelo, Orsi’s drawings are characterized by a refined technique and an imaginative approach to composition. The inventories of the Gonzaga collections at Novellara list several sheets by the artist, and enough contemporary copies of his drawings exist to show that they were widely known and appreciated. In later years the 18th century French collector and connoisseur Pierre-Jean Mariette 40

noted how Orsi’s drawings were popular with collectors, writing that “les dessins de ce peintre sont fort recherchés. Il a une assez belle plume, et joint au goût terrible de Michel-Ange les graces aimables du Corrège.” Significant collections of drawings by Orsi are today in the British Museum, the Louvre, the Uffizi and the Royal Collection at Windsor Castle. This highly finished drawing is probably a study for a lost fresco which once decorated the facade of a house in Novellara that belonged to the Gentili family in the 17th century, and which was destroyed towards the end of the 18th century. The fresco was described in anonymous account of Lelio Orsi’s paintings in Novellara, written around the middle of the 17th century, as depicting Ganymede on a horse; an unusual and quite innovative treatment of the subject: “Above another house of the Gentili family, he painted a Ganymede on horseback, that is still preserved there, and is esteemed by all those who see it.” The 19th century Novellara historian Vincenzo Davolio also mentions the lost fresco: “and we have seen, destroyed not many years ago, the last remnants of some shields depicting naval battles, the war of the Giants, a Ganymede on horseback, painted by Lelio on the facade of the old Gentili house.” In his biography of Lelio Orsi, published in 1892, the 19th century scholar Celestino Malagoli notes what must be the present sheet among the numerous drawings by the artist formerly in the Gonzaga collections in Novellara: ‘“In the Gallery of the Gonzaga Princes there were . . . One hundred drawings in one hundred sheets of carta reale, partly in watercolor, partly in black chalk, and partly in pen, ornamented with carved and gilded frames, and partly in [frames of] ebony with crystal . . . One can admire in these drawings . . . Ganymede on a horse abducted by the eagle, in watercolor . . .” The drawing must have been acquired at some point in the last quarter of the 18th century by Sir Joshua Reynolds (1723–1792), whose collector’s mark it bears.


Andrea Boscoli Florence 1560–1608 Rome

Design for a Frontispiece, Decorated with Putti, Sphinxes, and other Ornamental Elements, ca. 1605 Pen and brown ink and wash 237 x 169 mm. Inscribed lower center Boscoli and upper right 4 provenance Nathaniel Hone (1718–1784), London (Lugt 2793) William Armistead (1753–1831), Liverpool by descent to his daughter, who then gave it to the grandfather of Gordon Davies, Esq. London, Christie’s, 6 July 1982, lot 11 acquired from the above sale by Ralph Holland (1917–2012), Newcastle upon Tyne Thence by descent literature N. Bastogi, Andrea Boscoli alla Luce di Nuove Ricerche, thesis, Universita degli Studi di Firenze, 1991–1992, III.D/486. N. Bastogi, Andrea Boscoli, Florence, 2008, pp. 360, cat. no. 555.

This elegant drawing, most likely a design for a frontispiece, was made when Boscoli was at the height of his powers. The dense chiaroscuro and bravura use of wash is comparable with the drawings he made illustrating scenes from Tasso’s Gerusalemme Liberata, drawn circa 1605. Like the drawings for Gerusalemme Liberata, our drawing shows the distinctive style of Boscoli’s use of pen and brush and dark brown wash to a rich and decorative effect. In both the drawings from this series and ours, Boscoli has simplified the geometric forms of his figures and architecture, and been characteristically attentive to the treatment of light and shade, contrasting deep pools of dark wash with the white paper. As Julian Brooks has noted, “these particular attributes of style are found especially in the period at the end of Boscoli’s sojourn in the Marches and his last years in Rome before his death there in 1608.” The Gerusalemme Liberata drawings are of a broadly similar size and scale to our drawing, and exist in both vertical and horizontal formats. These sheets are framed in ink with a border extending beyond the drawn composition, in a manner and proportion similar to our drawing. Julian 42


Brooks has speculated, intriguingly, that the present design may have been intended as a frontispiece for the Tasso illustrations, though without further evidence, this remains conjecture. A pupil of Santi di Tito (1536–1603), Andrea Boscoli was admitted to the Accademia del Disegno in Florence in 1584. His ornamental and architectural drawings are few in number, though Baldinucci mentions Boscoli’s collaboration in his youth with Bernardo Buontalenti (1531– 1608) and Santi di Tito in the preparation of ephemeral decorations, a small industry within the Granducal court. Our drawing reveals the debt Boscoli owed to Buontalenti’s imagination and refinement in the execution of sculptural details, and may be compared with less than a dozen architectural studies that have survived, including a design for a wall decoration at Oxford, in which a similarly large space is left in the center of the design, surrounded by a similarly elaborate frame, flanked by satyrs comparable to the sphinxes and putti in our sheet. As mentioned in the description, the drawing used to bear an inscription, in pencil, ‘DISEGNI/DI/VARII PITTORI/ITALIANI/&C &C’. This inscription was removed by Ralph Holland subsequent to his purchase of the drawing in 1982. Recorded by a photo in the Christie’s catalogue, the inscription appears to be in a late 18th-century or an early 19th-century hand. Might it have been originally inscribed by William Armistead himself, who then may have used the drawing to serve as a frontispiece to his own album inscribed, “Drawing Book containing 36 original Drawings by Famous Artists including 15 from the Roscoe Collection and Portrait of Roscoe”?



Pietro Faccini

Bologna ca. 1562–1602 Bologna

Study of a Seated Youth, Leaning to the Right Red chalk, with stumping; the upper corners cropped 237 x 330 mm. Inscribed Coreggio in brown ink at the lower left Watermark: A fleur-de-lys in a shield provenance Sir Joshua Reynolds, London (Lugt 2364) By descent to his niece, Mary Palmer, later Marchioness of Thomond John Bacon Sawrey Morritt, Rokeby Park, nr. Barnard Castle, County Durham By descent to Major Henry Edward Morritt, Rokeby Park Ian Woodner, New York, his posthumous sale, London, Christie’s, 6 July 1991, lot 105 with P. & D. Colnaghi, London, in 1992 James Fairfax, Bowral, New South Wales, Australia, until 2010 exhibited Sydney, Art Gallery of New South Wales, The James Fairfax Collection of Old Master Paintings, Drawings and Prints, 2003, no. 21. literature Catherine Legrand, Le dessin à Bologne 1580–1620: La réforme des trois Carracci, exhibition catalogue, Paris, 1994, p. 101, under no. 66. Jean Goldman, “A New Attribution to Pietro Faccini,” Antichità viva, 1996, Nos. 2–3, pp. 28–29, fig. 3. Richard Beresford and Peter Raissis, The James Fairfax Collection of Old Master Paintings, Drawings and Prints, exhibition catalogue, Sydney, 2003, pp. 82–83, no. 21. Plymouth, Plymouth City Museum and Art Gallery, Sir Joshua Reynolds: The Acquisition of Genius, exhibition catalogue, 2009–2010, p. 129, under no. 55.

Pietro Faccini’s brief career seems to have begun at a relatively late age, when around 1583 he entered the Carracci Academy in Bologna. His precocious talent is said to have aroused the jealousy of Annibale Carracci, however, and in the 1590s Faccini left the Carracci academy, later setting up his own school. By this time he was already receiving independent commissions for altarpieces, and indeed the one known dated work by him, an early Martyrdom of Saint Lawrence painted for the Bolognese church of San Giovanni in Monte, was painted in 1590. He may have traveled to Venice, and the influence of Tintoretto noted by his biographer Cesare Malvasia is evident in some of his later works. According to Malvasia, Faccini was a productive painter known for his small-scale decorative pictures, although only a handful of paintings by 46


him survive today. Held in high regard by his contemporaries, he was elected alongside Guido Reni and Francesco Albani as one of the fifteen consiglieri of the Compagnia dei Pittori in Bologna in 1599. One of his last major works was an altarpiece of The Assumption of the Virgin, painted for the church of Santa Maria dei Servi in Bologna. Although strongly influenced by both Annibale and Ludovico Carracci, Faccini developed a fairly idiosyncratic style, and unlike them had few obvious followers. Aptly described as “one of the most creative and original draftsmen of the Emilian school,” Faccini worked in a variety of techniques, using pen and ink wash, red and black chalk, watercolor and oiled charcoal. He was an accomplished and versatile draughtsman, and his drawings were greatly admired for what Malvasia calls their gran spirito. They were especially popular with collectors, and Cardinal Leopoldo de’ Medici is said to have owned over a hundred drawings by the artist. Guercino also admired Faccini’s drawings, which were a strong influence on his early chalk style, and is known to have possessed a number of “nudi d’accademia” by the artist. In fact, Malvasia reserves special praise for Faccini’s drawings of the male nude, which he notes were often confused with those of Annibale Carracci: ‘so many drawings from the nude, that one sees an infinity of his models in all the most famous collections . . . so sensational, so darting, fluttering, and what is more, so easy and frank, that look as if they were by his master [ie. Annibale Carracci], many are sold every day as if the work of his hand.’ Important groups of drawings by Pietro Faccini, for the most part unpublished, are in the Uffizi, the Louvre, the Kupferstichkabinett in Berlin and the Galleria Estense in Modena. The attribution of this beautiful sheet to Faccini was first proposed by Babette Bohn in 1991, and was subsequently confirmed by the late Mario di Giampaolo. The drawing shows the influence of Annibale Carracci in the use of soft, stumped red chalk, and probably dates to the period of Faccini’s study with Annibale in the late 1580s, when both artists were inspired by the drawings of Correggio. The Correggesque quality of this drawing is further evidence of its early date; indeed, it was long attributed to Correggio himself, as evidenced by the inscription at the lower left. The present sheet is, in fact, inspired by the figure 48

of an ephebus in Correggio’s fresco of The Assumption of the Virgin on the cupola of the Duomo in Parma, painted in the second half of the 1520s. Faccini has omitted the foreshortened, dangling legs of Correggio’s figure and given the youth a more lively expression. The soft, sensuous application of stumped red chalk to depict the play of light and shade on the nude form—note, for example, the way in which the artist has depicted the shadow of the youth’s arm as it falls across the side of his chest—is a characteristic feature of Pietro Faccini’s draftsmanship of the 1580s. A stylistically comparable early drawing by Faccini of a Reclining Male Nude is in the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford, while in handling and effect a sheet of studies of Saint Francis in the Louvre provides a further point of comparison with the drawing here exhibited. It has recently been suggested that a red chalk study of a youth in the collection of the British Museum, where it is attributed to Annibale Carracci, may depict the same model as the present sheet. An interesting comparison may also be made with a drawing of a male nude by Annibale in the Louvre, which appears to be a similarly free interpretation of the type of youthful figure frescoed by Correggio on the cupola of the cathedral in Parma. This drawing bears the collector’s mark of the 18th century English painter Sir Joshua Reynolds (1723–1792). The leading portrait painter in England, Reynolds’ fame and success allowed him to assemble one of the largest collections of paintings, drawings and prints of his day. His collection of several thousand drawings, for the most part Italian works of the 16th and 17th centuries, was sold at two auctions in 1794 and 1798. The present sheet may be counted among the 54 sheets by or attributed to Correggio owned by Reynolds which then passed into the collection of the traveler and classical scholar J. B. S. Morritt (1771– 1843) of Rokeby Hall in Yorkshire, who likely acquired the drawing at one of the sales of Reynolds’ collection.


Giovanni Francesco Barbieri, called Il Guercino Cento 1591–1666 Bologna

Head of a Peasant in Profile to the Left Pen and ink with brush and brown wash 289 x 211 mm. provenance Benedetto Gennari, Casa Gennari, Bologna John Bouverie (ca. 1723–1750), bought circa 1745, by descent to Elizabeth Bouverie (d. 1798; surviving sister of John Bouverie), by bequest to Sir Charles Middleton, later 1st Baron Barham (1726–1813), by descent to Sir Charles Noel, later 1st Earl of Gainsborough, and thence by descent London, Christie’s, 27 July 1922, part of lot 85 Acquired from the above sale by E. Parsons and Sons, London Acquired from the above by A. P. Oppé (1878–1957), London, 5 August 1922 Thence by descent exhibited London, Royal Academy, Drawings by Old Masters, 13 August–25 October 1953, p. 41, cat. no. 149 (cat. by K. T. Parker and J. Byam Shaw). London, Royal Academy, The Paul Oppé Collection: English Watercolours and Old Master Drawings, 1958, p. 44, cat. no. 285. Ottawa, National Gallery of Canada, Exhibition of Works from the Paul Oppé Collection: English Water Colours and Old Master Drawings, 9 March–3 April 1961, cat. no. 125. Bologna, Palazzo dell’Achiginnasio, Il Guercino (Giovanni Francesco Barbieri, 1591– 1666): Catalogo critico dei disegni, 1 September–18 November, 1968, p. 214, cat. no. 234, reproduced (cat. by D. Mahon). London, British Museum, Drawings by Guercino from British Collections, 1991, p. 225, cat. no. 209, reproduced p. 224 (cat. by N. Turner and C. Plazzotta). literature K. T. Parker and J. Byam Shaw, Drawings by Old Masters, London, Royal Academy, 1953, exhibition catalog, p. 41, no. 149. The Paul Oppé Collection: English Watercolours and Old Master Drawings, London, Royal Academy, 1958, exhibition catalogue, p. 44, no. 285. Exhibition ofWorks from the Paul Oppé Collection: English Watercolours and Old Master Drawings, Ottawa, National Gallery of Canada, 1961, exhibition catalogue, no. 125. D. Mahon, Il Guercino disegni (Giovanni Francesco Barbieri, 1591–1666): Catalogo critico dei disegni, Bologna, Palazzo dell’Achiginnasio, 1968, exhibition catalogue, p. 214, no. 234, reproduced. N. Turner and C. Plazzotta, Drawings by Guercino from British Collections, London, British Museum, 1991, exhibition catalog, p. 225, no. 209, p. 224, reproduced.

This large and incisive study of a man seen in profile reveals Guercino’s unsurpassed powers of observation in confronting, unflinchingly, even persons whose very physiognomy challenges classical conceptions of 50


comeliness and convention. This is in part derived from the artist’s indirect exposure to the Carracci Academy principles of naturalism, and, most directly, from his own deep interest in capturing the daily life and manners of his rural countrymen near Cento. The peasant profiled here wears a soft, banded cap, with the brim boldly tipped upwards, in a gesture almost echoing the open, drooping lower lip of his mouth. While the image is startling in its realism and in the intensity of the sitter’s expression, the technical execution of the drawing belies this with the most delicate application of washes to reveal the folds of the hat and the sagging jowls. These luminous effects by the layering of such thin veils of wash combined with the exploitation of the brilliant white of the paper convey a tenderness of approach to this sitter that somehow humanizes him despite his unprepossessing aspect. Guercino’s caricatures such as the present sheet and a directly comparable example in the British Museum of an Old Man with a Pair of Spectacles Stuck over his Ear, are part of a tradition of ‘charged’ or ‘loaded’ portraits (ritrattini carichi), which explore exaggerated features, or juxtapose odd elements that draw attention to differences. Though Guercino did not attend the Carracci Academy, its revolutionary naturalism and emphasis on unidealized beauty had a profound effect on him and other Bolognese artists. A tradition of caricature drawings was started by Leonardo da Vinci which led to a certain popularity for the genre. While Annibale (1560–1609) and Agostino Carracci (1557–1602) were among the first artists regularly to make caricatures, Guercino’s own drawings greatly expanded the subject matter of the genre, and his virtuosity as a draftsman was always employed in producing exceptionally elegant and finished examples, however monstrous his sitters might be. As David Stone has observed, it is worth remembering that Guercino, too, suffered a certain deformity in his cross-eyed appearance, or strabismus. This affliction in no small way gave him sympathy for the unfortunately featured, and a fearlessness to record them. Our drawing, one of Guercino’s most unforgettable images in caricature, with its illustrious provenance—Gennari, Bouverie, Gainsborough—was most recently in the celebrated collection of the discerning scholar, Paul Oppé. Several of the drawings collected by 52

Oppé, including the present sheet, revealed his evident fascination with caricature in art. Other examples included works by such artists as Pier Francesco Mola (1612–1666), Baccio del Bianco (1604–1657), Carlo Marchionni (1702–1786), Giovanni Domenico Campiglia (1692–1768) and, especially, Agostino Carracci, whose famous sheet of Caricature Heads, signed and dated 1594, is the earliest dated caricature study and has recently been acquired by private treaty from the Oppé collection by the Barber Institute of Fine Arts, Birmingham.


Liu Dan at work in his studio, Beijing, 2018

Liu Dan 劉丹 Liu Dan is among the most original and respected living artists in China. Born in Nanjing, one of the six ancient capitals of China, Liu Dan studied at Jiangsu Academy of Traditional Painting between 1978 and 1981. He lived in the U.S. for almost 25 years before moving back to China in 2005. Liu Dan currently lives and works in Beijing.

Selected Recent Museum Exhibitions 2017 2016 2013 2012 2011 2010 2009 2007 2006 2005

Art and China after 1989:Theater of the World, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York Ink Unbound: Paintings by Liu Dan, Minneapolis Institute of Art, Minneapolis Liu Dan: New Landscapes and Old Masters, Ashmolean Museum of Art and Archeology, Oxford The Union of the Mind and the Dao: ArtWorks by Liu Dan, Suzhou Museum, Suzhou Ink Art: Past as Present in Contemporary China, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York Modern Chinese Ink Paintings, British Museum, London Rochers de Lettrés, Itinéraires de l’Art en Chine, Musée Guimét, Paris Why Not Ink,? Today Art Museum, Beijing The Art of Writing: Contemporary Art from Three Cultures, Artforum in der Kurhaus Kolonnade, Wiesbaden Fresh Ink:Ten Takes on Chinese Tradition, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston Outside In: Chinese x American x Contemporary Art, Princeton University Art Museum, Princeton Made in China: Works from the Estella Collection, Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Humlebaek, Shu: Reinventing Books in Contemporary Chinese Art, China Institute, New York The New Chinese Landscape: Recent Acquisitions, Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Harvard University, Cambridge Über Schönheit, Museum für Ostasiatische Kunst, Berlin 55

Selected Public Collections The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, New York Ashmolean Museum, Oxford Arthur M. Sackler Museum of the Harvard University Art Museums, Cambridge Brooklyn Museum, Brooklyn, New York British Museum, London The Honolulu Academy of Art, Honolulu The Contemporary Museum, Honolulu Minneapolis Institute of Art, Minneapolis Musée Guimét, Paris San Diego Museum of Art, San Diego The Supreme Court of the State of Hawaii, Honolulu


Robert E. Harrist, Jr. Robert E. Harrist, Jr. is the Jane and Leopold Swergold Professor of Chinese Art History in the Department of Art History and Archaeology at Columbia University, where he has been a faculty member since 1997 and served as the chairman of the department from 2007 to 2011. Harrist has published books and exhibition catalogues, as well as articles and essays, on topics including landscape painting, Chinese gardens, issues of copies and authenticity, men’s clothing in modern China, and contemporary art. His book The Landscape of Words: Stone Inscription in Early and Medieval China (University of Washington Press, 2008) was awarded the Joseph Levenson Prize for its significant contribution to scholarship on China. From 2006 to 2007, Harrist was the Slade Professor of Fine Art at University of Cambridge in the UK, during which time he delivered the lecture series “Reading Chinese Mountains: Landscape and the Power of Writing.” He has lectured at leading public institutions including the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the China Institute in America in New York, the British Museum, and the Freer/Sackler Gallery in Washington, D.C. He has been a visiting professor at the University of Paris, Princeton, the University of Zurich, and the University of Michigan. He also serves on various editorial and gallery committees. In addition to Asian art, Harrist also teaches “Art Humanities: Masterpieces of Western Art,” part of the Core Curriculum of Columbia University, at the Morningside Heights campus and in the university’s summer program at Reid Hall in Paris.



NICHOLAS HALL Established in 2016, Nicholas Hall is an appointment-only gallery on the Upper East Side of New York. The gallery deals in museum-quality works by European artists from the 13th to mid-20th century and provides bespoke advisory services for the discerning collector. Before founding his eponymous gallery, Nicholas was the International Chairman of the Old Master and 19th-Century Departments at Christie’s. His first gallery, Hall & Knight, was acquired by Christie’s in 2004.

Selected Museums with works of art acquired through Nicholas Hall Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland Detroit Institute of Arts, Detroit The Frick Collection, New York Indianapolis Museum of Art, Indianapolis J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles Kimbell Art Museum, Fort Worth Louvre Museum, Paris Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C. National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa National Gallery, London Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City Princeton University Art Museum, Princeton Sarah Campbell Blaffer Foundation at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston Scottish National Gallery, Edinburgh Timken Museum of Art, San Diego Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, Hartford Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven


This catalogue is produced on the occasion of the exhibition from 10 September to 23 November 2018 at NICHOLAS HALL

17 East 76th Street New York NY 10021 +1 212 772 9100 nicholashjhall.com Monday to Friday 10 am – 5 pm Selected weekends By appointment only

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Metamorphosis: Liu Dan’s Fantastic Landscape and the Renaissance  

Metamorphosis: Liu Dan’s Fantastic Landscape and the Renaissance