Landscape in the Styles of Early Masters

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Maker(s)
Artist: Wei Zhihuang (1568-after 1645)
Calligrapher: Colophon by Gong Xian (ca. 1610-1689)
Historical period(s)
Ming dynasty, early to mid-17th century
Medium
Ink and color on paper
Dimensions
H x W (image): 30.6 x 1105 cm (12 1/16 x 435 1/16 in)
Geography
China
Credit Line
Transfer from the United States Customs Service, Department of the Treasury
Accession Number
F1980.129
On View Location
Currently not on view
Classification(s)
Painting
Type

Handscroll

Keywords
China, farming, fishing, landscape, Ming dynasty (1368 - 1644), WWII-era provenance
Provenance

To 1960
Chen Rentao (1906-1968), Hong Kong, and Frank Caro, C. T. Loo & Co., New York, to 1960 [1]

From 1960 to 1979
Department of Treasury, U. S. Customs Service [2]

From 1979
Freer Gallery of Art, from October 23, 1979 [3]

[1] This object is one of a group of 88 objects (F80.104-F80.180, FSC-S-22-25 and FSC-O-11a-h) seized in 1960 by the U.S. Customs Service, Department of the Treasury, from the dealer and collector Chen Rentao, Hong Kong and Frank Caro of C. T. Loo & Co., New York. The objects were deemed to have been introduced into the commerce of the United States in violation of 19 U.S.C. 1592 (Trade with Communist China).

[2] See note 1. The object’s ownership title is based on the settlement agreement, dated November 1971, between the United States, Chen Tung Siang Wen, the executrix for Chen Rentao Estate, and Frank Caro, copy in object file. See U.S. Customs Service Memorandum, April 23, 1979 and a letter from Thadeus Rojek, Chief Counsel, Department of the Treasury, U.S. Custom Service, to Marie C. Malaro, Assistant General Counsel, Smithsonian Institution, dated November 29, 1979, copy in object file. The objects remained in the custody of the U.S. Customs Service office in New York until 1979.

[3] The object was transferred to the Freer Gallery of Art on October 23, 1979.

Previous Owner(s)

U.S. Customs Service
Frank Caro 1904-1980
Chen Rentao 1906-1968

Label

This very long landscape handscroll intentionally shifts from style to style, evoking early masters of the Song and Yuan dynasties like Mi Fu (1052-1101), Huang Gongwang (1269-1354), and Wang Meng (ca. 1308-1385). The painting depicts streams and mountains, various forests, waterfalls, villages, fishermen, rice cultivation, and other typical elements of traditional landscape scenery. At the end of the scroll there is an important colophon by Gong Xian (ca. 1618-1689), a great individualist master who, like Wei, resided in Nanjing. He describes Wei Zhihuang as a very tall man with a long white beard, who supported a large family of 40-some members with his brush.

Published References
  • Nakata Yujiro Fu Shen. O-bei shuzo Chugoku hosho meiseki shu (Masterpieces of Chinese Calligraphy in American and European Collections). 6 vols., Tokyo, 1981-1983. pl. 51.
Collection Area(s)
Chinese Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
Rights Statement

Copyright with museum