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From a Regional Art School to a National One: The Rise of The Lingnan School in the 1920s and the 1930s

Date: 5 December 2017 (Tuesday)
Time: 5:00pm
Venue: Room 7.58, Run Run Shaw Tower, Centennial Campus

The Lingnan School is one of the earliest modern art schools in China in the first half of the twentieth century. The School was founded by three Canton painters, Gao Jianfu 高劍父, Gao Qifeng 高奇峰 and Chen Shuren 陳樹人. As Gao Qifeng died in a relatively early age and Chen Shuren spent most of his time as a high-ranking government officer, Gao Jianfu was the actual leader who oversaw the development of the Lingnan School, and seeing its rise from a regional school to a national one.

This study reexamines three important periods in the development of the Lingnan School with a greater focus on its development in the 1920s and the 1930s. I propose that Gao Jianfu’s Japanese study experience in mid 1900s laid the foundation for his pursuit of reforming Chinese painting to represent the new country. The debate between Gao Jianfu and the traditional artists in Guangzhou in mid 1920s forced him to redevelop his painting style by eliminating the Japanese elements in his works. And then it was his India sojourn and his meeting with Rabindranath Tagore in early 1930s made him an artist with international reputation in China, which made it possible for Gao Jianfu to bring his school, the Lingnan School into the limelight of Chinese art world in the 1930s.

Speaker: Liu Yan Prynne (MPhil Candidate, Department of Fine Arts, HKU)