Landscape Paintings

Fu Erh-shih (b. 1936)
Hanging Scroll, Ink and Color on Rice Paper, 26.5 x 13 in., (67 x 33 cm.)

Chu Griffis Collection #69Writing about Fu Erh-shih reminds me to mention a prevailing phenomenon of families of artist in China today. In our collection, we have three families represented. Fu Pao-shih's family is one. Fu Pao-shih (1904 - 1965), father of Fu Erh-shih, is recognized as one of China's best known artists specializing in painting both figures and landscapes. We have one of his landscape paintings. He has two sons and a daughter. They are all artists of considerable fame, and they all follow in their father's footstpes in their style. The first son, Fu Hsiao-shih is a figure painter. We have a painting by him. Fu Erh-shih is the second son. Fu Bao-shih's daughter is also a landscape artist.

Blessed by their early observation of and training by their father, their interests in becoming artists propelled them to continue their art study at colleges. Their painting in mature years shows their father's influence. Take our piece, for example: if you are familiar with the father's painting, you easily recognize some similarities in painting small figures on top of the mountains, the contrast between dark and light dots, the way water falls and trees are painted. This by no means signifies a poor painting; on the contrary, it stands on its own as an excellent piece, but it is less creative and vigorous than his stunningly creative father.

This painting was done in 1978 when Erh-shih was forty-two years old, shortly after the cultural revolution (1966-1976). During that time, the entire family suffered severe political repression as "Rightists". Hsiao-shih was even jailed for ten years while Erh-shih lost the energy to resist. By the early eighties, the Communist government rehabilitation policy sought to bring back the reputation of the wronged populace. The young Fus were invited to show their works in Peking, Hong Kong, and Taiwan, and their paintings were auctioned on the world market. I bought this at Sotheby's in 1989. It was formerly owned by the well known collector, Mr. Robert Ellsworth of New York City.

This painting was purchased with funds provided by Sharon and Hughes Griffis in 1989.