Master of the Generation•Huang Binhong

In the history of modern Chinese painting, there is a saying of “Northern Qi and Southern Huang”. “Northern Qi” refers to the master of traditional Chinese painting Qi Baishi, and “Southern Huang” refers to the landscape painter and painting theorist Huang Binhong. They both belong to the same era. But back then, Qi Baishi’s paintings could be sold for tens of dollars, but Huang Binhong’s paintings could not be given away. Huang Binhong once predicted to his friends during his lifetime: “Fifty years after my death, my paintings will become more popular.” Sure enough, 40 years after his death, “Huang Binhong fever” quietly emerged. In 2014, his “Small View of the South Peak” painted in 1955 was sold for 62.675 million yuan at the Jiade Spring Auction.

Master of the Generation•Huang Binhong Photo 2

Originally from Anhui, born in Zhejiang
Huang Binhong (1865-1955), a native of Tandu Village, She County, Anhui Province, was born in the late Qing Dynasty. He was born in Jinhua, Zhejiang Province. He was born in Tielingtou in Jinhua City on January 27, 1865 (the first day of the first lunar month in the fourth year of Tongzhi in the Qing Dynasty). When he was born, it was the moment when “one night is two years old, and the fifth watch is divided into two years.” Therefore, Huang Binhong wrote in his “Eighty Remarks” “There is: “I was born in the year of Yichou, and I am as old as Jiazi. God knows that spring will be late, and I will fall to the ground at the beginning of the year.”

Huang Binhong’s father was an Huizhou merchant, so his family was well off when he was young. And because Hui merchants were fond of Confucianism, they loved to hide their reputation. Therefore, when Huang Binhong was young, his father hired a private school teacher at home to teach “Cihui”, “Shuowen” and “Four Books and Five Classics”, laying a good foundation for Chinese studies. His father was also good at calligraphy and painting, and was fond of collecting. Huang Binhong began to draw and trace at the age of 4, and at the age of 6, he could copy the Shen Tingrui (Zunya) landscape album in the family collection vividly. In the 12th year of the reign of Emperor Guangxu of the Qing Dynasty (1886), Huang Binhong joined Lin Gongsheng and studied landscape painting from the painter Zheng Shan and flower and bird painting from Chen Ruoshui. During this period, he also enjoyed the mountains and insisted on sketching.

At the age of 26, Huang Binhong returned to his hometown of She County to follow his father in making ink. By chance, he was able to become a disciple of Wang Zongyi, a well-known aide of Li Hongzhang and a famous Confucian of the generation, and study Confucian classics. Later, when Huang Binhong was helping the descendants of the great Qing Dynasty painter Huang Zhenmin organize their collection of famous paintings, he saw many authentic paintings from the Song, Yuan and Ming dynasties. Whatever he could borrow, he took home and copied them carefully. Through these persistent copies, Huang Binhong gradually integrated the delicacy of the styles of the Song Dynasty, the interest of the brushwork of the Four Masters of the Yuan Dynasty, and the hardness of the brushwork of the Ming Dynasty into his own paintings.

Befriend Tan Sitong and retire after success


One of Huang Binhong’s biggest hobbies in life is the creation of calligraphy and painting, but he is not a master of landscape painting in the general sense. When he was young, he dated Tan Sitong and became literary friends. When Tan Sitong went south to recruit talents for the reform and reform, Huang Binhong decisively participated, hoping to take this opportunity to save and rejuvenate the country and carry out reforms and innovations.

Later, Tan Sitong was killed, and Huang Binhong was extremely sad. At the same time, because of his close association with Tan Sitong, he was reported by the villagers, so he had to flee overnight to Hangzhou, Jinhua, and finally Shanghai, living a life of escape. In 1900, during the “Gengzi Rebellion”, the Eight-Power Allied Forces captured Beijing and Empress Dowager Cixi fled westward. After signing the “Xin Chou Peace Treaty” which was humiliating and humiliating the country, the Qing government had no time to take care of the rest of the Restoration Party. Huang Binhong was able to return to his hometown and organized the “Huang Society” in his “Huaide Hall” to study poetry and prose in public and promote revolutionary ideas in secret. He also secretly minted coins to raise funds for the revolution, and almost got jailed for this.

Huang Binhong’s former residence

The Revolution of 1911 broke out in October 1911, and Huang Binhong participated in the Shanghai Business Group Uprising. However, after the victory of the Revolution of 1911, Yuan Shikai’s actions to restore the monarchy left him disheartened. After that, he did not choose to be an official, but worked in newspapers, bookstores, etc., engaged in news and art editing and education. According to Wang Zhongxiu’s statistics, between 1907 and 1937, Huang Binhong wrote more than 1,100 articles by sorting out and studying the history of ancient Chinese art. He published more than 1,100 articles in “Oriental Magazine” and “National Quintessence Monthly” that competed with “New Youth” sponsored by Chen Duxiu. Waiting for publication in the magazine. These publications and research work have brought Huang Binhong a wide range of social reputation.

After that, Huang Binhong’s focus shifted from editing and publishing to teaching and research, and he successively held a number of teaching positions. He believes that the art of calligraphy and painting, which contains the basic humanistic spirit of the Chinese nation, should be upheld and promoted, and innovation should be sought within the system, and then seek to use “spiritual civilization” to save the “sinking of the human heart” and solve the cultural crisis that has not been resolved by the social revolution. His ideas It started with art but aimed at saving the country.

After the September 18th Incident, the cultural relics of the Forbidden City were moved south. Huang Binhong also serves as the Forbidden City Antiquities Appraisal Committee to carefully review and register the National Treasures of the Forbidden City. During this period, he appraised more than 150 paintings every day, appraising more than 4,000 paintings and calligraphy works in the Forbidden City in total, and recorded them all one by one – “Huang Binhong’s Forbidden City Painting Appraisal Record”.

Open an art exhibition and finally meet your soulmate、


In 1944, Huang Binhong held a painting exhibition in Shanghai, and only one person bought his painting. Huang Binhong was so excited, thinking that he had finally met his soulmate, that he gave him many pictures in succession. This person is Fu Lei, 43 years younger than Huang Binhong, and a well-known foreign literary translator and literary critic.

In 1932, Fu Lei pointed out in his “The Panic of Modern Chinese Art” that the situation of modern Chinese art is that “there is neither real emotion nor solid technique.” Fu Lei’s comments on art can be described as unique. He said that Bai Shishang thought he had read too little and had not enough exposure to tradition. He only worshiped Jin Dongxin; he looked down on Liu Haisu, saying that his Chinese painting was wild fox Zen; he looked down on Zhang Daqian, saying that he was another speculator, and his greatest skill in life was Shi Tao was a forger, but he was a top-notch master; he even criticized Xu XX for not entering the door of traditional Chinese painting and closing his eyes (later speculated to be Xu Beihong). But in 1935, Fu Lei was extremely happy after appreciating Huang Binhong’s paintings.

After this exhibition, Fu Lei repeatedly bought paintings from Huang Binhong, fell in love with him, and even wrote to Huang Binhong, “The brushwork and ink are different, so the realm is different: lush and green, like those of ancient people, and euphemistic, like quatrains.” There are also those who make it. The wonderful thing is that the huge curtains are not necessarily complicated, the small frames are not necessarily simple, there is beauty in the old, there is still spiritual energy floating in the thick places, the lines are flying, and the two or three straight lines are worth millions of words. This is fascinating. You never get tired of watching it.” He commented on Huang Binhong’s ability to acquire widely and not belong to any particular sect. He was immersed in the Tang and Song dynasties and formed his own identity by gathering the essence of each dynasty.

However, in 1952, after the founding of the People’s Republic of China, the price of Huang Binhong’s paintings began to rise, and it was 1 yuan a piece, while Qi Baishi’s paintings were 4 yuan per square foot; Wu Zuoren’s Runge was 5 yuan per square foot. In 1977, Wang Xuetao’s paintings cost 20 yuan per square foot, Huang Binhong’s student Li Keran’s paintings cost 25 yuan per square foot, and Huang Binhong’s paintings were still 1 yuan each. But who would have thought that in the China Guardian 2017 Spring Auction in 2017, Huang Binhong’s later work “Huangshan Tangkou” started at a high price of 72 million yuan, and the price was hammered down at 300 million yuan!

Regarding Huang Binhong’s landscape painting creation, his disciple Wang Bomin said: “Huang Binhong became familiar with his brush and ink theory twice. The first time was between the age of 50 and 70. The familiarity at this time was due to his familiarity with traditional landscapes. Understanding and familiarity lie in the copying of ancient paintings. Therefore, in this period, almost every stroke of his works has its source, and every bit has its origin. Even his compositions are considered by some to be a kind of Lutai style, that is, “Bai Binhong” ‘; The second ripening was from the age of 80 to his death. It is the ripeness that is reincarnated from ripening. Some critics think that old faces appear in Huang Lao’s paintings, and the paintings are not like the past. The more the paintings are, the denser and denser they become. The thicker the painting, the more ink the painting becomes, which is called ‘Black Binhong’.” “Black Binhong” is Huang Binhong’s unique aesthetic in his later years, and it is also the landscape atmosphere he pursued.

It is difficult to count how many paintings Huang Binhong painted in his life. When he died in 1955, his paintings were still lonely. In accordance with his last wish, his family donated more than 1,000 books, calligraphy and paintings, epigraphic rubbings, self-made paintings and calligraphy, and manuscripts. However, after many twists and turns, the Zhejiang Museum reluctantly accepted it. , and it was not until 30 years after Huang Binhong’s death that those paintings that were lost in the corner were able to see the light of day again, truly demonstrating their value!

Huang Binhong experienced many historical changes in his life, and he persisted in studying during the war. Painting, calligraphy, seal cutting, and poetry stayed with him throughout his life. He also wrote a large number of academic works, including “A Study on the Origin of Huangshan Painters”, “Honglu Painting Talk”, and “Micrograph of Ancient Paintings” “Painting Studies”, “Outline of the History of Chinese Painting”, “Seal Collection in Binhong Thatched Cottage”, “Huang Binhong’s Painting Quotations”, etc., and co-edited “Art Series” with Deng Shi.

Regarding learning painting, Huang Binhong once said: “When learning painting, you must learn figures first. Why? Figure painting requires accuracy. If a nose is long, it will look like a foreign devil, unlike the Chinese. When painting a tree, the length is not a big problem.” The best way to practice accuracy is to learn to draw people; the second is to learn flowers, which are colorful and the most beautiful; and the third is to learn landscapes.”

Regarding copying, Huang Binhong said in his “Ancient Painting Micro”, “The ancients all had profound meanings in their paintings. Everyone had their own masters when thinking and writing.” The “owner” here refers to the ancient painters’ imitation of their predecessors. and inheritance. By copying a large number of classic works of the ancients, Huang Binhong concluded: first copy Yuan paintings because of their excellent brush and ink; secondly copy Ming paintings because of their stable structure and not easy to fall into evil ways; thirdly copy Tang paintings so that students can pursue the ancient times. ; Finally, I copied Song Dynasty paintings, with many changes in method. As for painting landscapes, there should be charm, painting of flowers and birds should be interesting, and painting of figures should be emotional and spirited. The materials of the pictures are nothing more than heaven, earth and people. The sky is called mountains and rivers; the earth is called flowers, grass, insects, fish and feathers. Painting flowers and plants is just paper flowers that have a similar shape but no interest. Painting people is the most complicated. There must be distinctions between men, women, old and young, personalities, and even more distinctions between good and evil.

Huang Binhong said in his “Binhong Paintings”: “Yao Xibao’s comments on poetry cannot be truly evaluated until fifty years after his death. It is not enough to criticize and criticize him based on temporary grudges. Fifty years later, the personal relationship has disappeared, and those who discuss the ancients always seek truth from facts and always defend themselves. But the same is true for paintings.” Indeed, fifty years later, people can truly understand the paintings of Huang Binhong and appreciate the paintings depicted by his unique pen and ink. The charm of the landscape, feeling the literati temperament he expressed, enjoying his elegant style, and at the same time feeling a deep nostalgia for him.

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