Subject: Zhang Daqian does not care
Posted By: RB Mon, May 24, 2021
Zhang Daqian is not mediocre, his painting is. He is a master of eclecticism and the grand master of the eclectics. One simply has to admire how he is playing the market and the academic world to place his forgeries (probably his most ambitious works) and create his own fame.
Oh yes he was a very successful man!
But his painting is simply lacking quality.
I can not say that his compositions are very convincing to imagine them as part of the living world. His calligraphic brushwork has not the quality to create movement and his paintings have what I would call a poetic indifference.
Just look to the paintings sold by sothebys out of the the Meiyuntang collection to have this a bit related to the initial post and to give you a safe ground regarding the forgeries.
The landscapes all have overloaded compositions, always were is something unnecessary. Trees are lifeless, structures flat, lacking depth, because of his calligraphic limits. Because his brush is not moving well there is no flowing water and no wind. Unthinkable in a painting of Huang Binhong or Wang Yuanqi.
In the simple compositions in boneless style the branches have no tension and the flowers look dense. While the works of Wang Xuetao are like windows into a living garden, Zhangs boneless paintings are like woodblock printed postcards.
The worst but are his figures. They look like dolls made of wood. His brush could not create the impression of a falling garment and the the faces are dull and without movement. How different are the deep faces provided by Ren Yi, the melancholic figures of Fu Baoshi. Even the simple, comic like characters of Feng Zikai are full of life.
Yes there is great financial value in Zhangs works. But than I look at his paintings I only can see careless executed compositions which seem not to have a poetical intention at all.
Now if the painter does not really care, why should I?
What a difference is a visit in the Pan Tianshou Jinianguan in Huangzhou. Everything is alive, the pine trees are creaking, the wind is blowing, water is running, drops are falling....