Landscape Paintings

Lao Cheng (ca. 1680-1721)
Hanging Scroll, Ink and Color on Rice Paper, 62 x 26 in., (157.5 x 66 cm.)

Chu Griffis Collection #118The painting in front of you was done in 1698 by a minor artist who lived at a time when the orthodox school of the four Wangs dominated landscape painting. At the same time, there was a group of four Tsaoist monks; painters who were innovative and individualistic. This young artist, Lao Cheng, leaned toward the traditionalists. He claimed to be a recluse and a poet living in the mountains outside his birthplace in today's Su-chou in Southern China.

The following translation of his inscription on the painting tells something of the artist and his own view of the painting:

Mist and clouds below,
I do not feel lonesome.
I dip the brush in ink,
casually copy master's work.
this morning I am trying to imitate Huang Kung-wang (1269-1354)
then I realize
the misty mountain lacks his warmth and fails to capture the color blue.

This painting is crammed with dry brushed small hills and trees in valleys. As he admitted, they lack the free-flowing movement of strong brush strokes. You may ask why I bought it. My reasons are simple: 1. This can be used for reference in the classroom; 2. It is availible and affordable.

Purchased with donations from C. Egan, F. Field, G. Gardiner, M. Hassard, J. Hersey, G. Jagger, S. Payne, P. Perraud, F. Phelen, L. Stack, F. Varinata, G. Willauer. Sept. 1997.