1947 Scenes of Vietnam

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Scenes of Vietnam

Huang Yao adapted various different Chinese ink painting techniques to paint what he saw and experienced in his travels through Vietnam, Thailand and Malaysia. Painting realistically was deviating from the traditional Chinese literati's way of painting "just the essence". Perhaps Huang Yao wanted to refute the mistaken belief that Chinese painting techniques cannot produce realistic paintings. He demonstrated how gongbi could be used in painting ‘Scenes of Vietnam’. Related to the ‘Scenes of Vietnam’ are the monochrome and bai miao paintings of Thailand and paintings that exhibit calligraphic skills (such as caoshu) in the ‘Scenes of Nanyang’. With his sharp journalistic skills and keen artistic eyes, he picked out subjects with details relevant to the situation in that particular time and place.

This set is likely to have been exhibited and many pieces sold.

Huang Yao wrote,  “The paintings I did of ladies under the human figure category were rather popular, I think because the painting is rather 'pretty'. It’s a pity that in Chinese paintings, when they paint the subject of ladies, they are often depicted as rather old fashion. Alternatively, in the western paintings, ladies are painted nude, which is kind of inappropriate for Asians to hang in their living room. But old fashion paintings are not 'exciting' enough!”

“Some friends had asked me, ‘can you modernize the painting of ladies?’ and I thought, well maybe I can do a 'pretty' painting. Beauty is not a fixed definition, there is beauty in strength, there is also beauty in demureness. If I could make the painting poetic that could be quite attractive. So how do I express poetic? I can find an appropriate topic and make that attractive. I think it must be in a painting’s composition  and its relationship with lines. If I use 'Suimo' (Chinese ink painting technique) in a larger context and 'Baimiao' (fine line drawing) as the foundation the painting can turn out well with or without color.”

Huang Yao added further that, “In Vietnam, I painted what I saw. I first did a quick sketch on a pad and then worked on the details of design and colors at home. There were some exaggerations so as to make the painting artistically beautiful and poetic.”

The paintings in this set are all painted with Chinese ink and color on Chinese paper. They are of same dimension 28.7cm x 33.0cm and from Huang Yao Foundation. These paintings were completed in 1947 and exhibited in Kunming and Guangzhou, China.

Click on any thumbnail below to see more paintings from this set:

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