Animal Paintings

Liu Chi-yu (1918 - 1983)
Hanging Scroll, Ink and Color on Rice Paper, 27 x 18 in., ( 68.5 x 46 cm.)

Chu Griffis Collection #68In 1980 I accompanied a group of alumni to China and I bought an art book by Liu Chi-yu. His figure paintings and animal drawings attracted my attention and since that time I wanted to own one of his works for myself. However, in 1993, I bought one for the Chu-Griffis Collection.

I searched for an answer to my question: "How did he do it?" This is what I learned. As a child of a well-known artist father, Liu Kui-ling, Mr. Liu studied with his father. When he was sixteen, he had lessons in Western painting at an art museum in Tientsin, North China. That was his art education. His father taught him to observe people and animals in motion. He remembered, sketched them quietly and diligently.

When he painted figures, he paid great attention to facial expressions. When painting animals, he concentrated on the head, all the rest was loosely done. When he was not doing monochrome paintings, colors were used, as he said, to enrich the surface beauty and satisfy the demands of modern taste.

Squirrels are not commonly painted by Chinese artists. I am glad to have Mr. Liu represented in our collection and note that these squirrels were done with both dexterity and spontaneity.

Purchased with funds provided by Susan Zimmerman, 1993.