Cat and Butterflies

citation

Maker(s)
Artist: Qi Baishi 齊白石 (1864-1957)
Historical period(s)
Modern period, before 1937
Medium
Ink and color on paper
Dimensions
H x W (image): 131 x 28.1 cm (51 9/16 x 11 1/16 in)
Geography
China
Credit Line
Bequest from the collection of Wang Fangyu and Sum Wai, donated in their memory by Mr. Shao F. Wang
Collection
Shao F. Wang collection
Accession Number
F1998.74
On View Location
Currently not on view
Classification(s)
Painting
Type

Hanging scroll

Keywords
butterfly, cat, China, Modern period (1912 - present), Shao F. Wang collection, WWII-era provenance
Provenance

To 1997
Wang Fangyu (1913-1997) and Sum Wai (1918-1996), to 1997 [1]

To 1998
Shao F. Wang, New York and Short Hills, NJ, by descent, to 1998 [2]

From 1998
Freer Gallery of Art, gift of Shao F. Wang in 1998

Notes:

[1] According to Curatorial Note 2, Joseph Chang, May 7, 1998, and Joseph Chang, August 18, 1998, in the object record.

[2] See note 1.

Previous Owner(s)

Shao F. Wang
Wang Fangyu 1913-1997
Sum Wai 1918 - 1996

Label

Qi Baishi was among the most renowned painters of his time and a modern master. He drew inspiration from classical motifs but gave them his own twist. The combination of a cat and a butterfly forms the rebus "mao die," a reference to "seventy or eighty years of life," which was equated with longevity. A sense of humor must have compelled Qi to paint this for Xu Beihong (1895-1954), another famous artist of the time, who was almost three decades younger. Qi was a playful artist who often incorporated humor into his work, but in this painting he still managed to preserve the tradition of respecting one's elders.

Published References
  • Thomas Lawton Thomas W. Lentz. Beyond the Legacy: Anniversary Acquisitions for the Freer Gallery of Art and the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery. vol. 1 Washington, 1998. pp. 262-263.
Collection Area(s)
Chinese Art
Rights Statement

Copyright with artist