Xu Beihong in Nanyang [SAM]

Today, Jingjing and I went to the Singapore Art Museum, to check out the Xu Beihong exhibition. (5th April – 17th August).

[ Image taken from Singapore Sights ]

Potrait of a Young Lady, 1940, Oil on canvas

One of the paintings I saw was Portrait of a Young Lady. It depicts a young lady seated on a chair, turned to her right to face the artist. Her expression seems rather dazed or distracted, and she does not address the artist directly.

The painting is painted in a painterly fashion. There appears to be thick coats of paint applied to the canvas [this is apparent if you view the painting first-hand], giving the canvas texture. The brush strokes seem to have been created by a moderately thick brush, and there is some effort in blending the strokes, especially on the woman’s arm. For her blouse, there is not much detail to attention as the pattern on it is depicted by relatively large dabs of paint.

The entire painting has a somewhat green hue to it, with dark green being used for shadows and eyebrows, and light green mixed into the background. The source of light for the painting seems to originate from the top left, and is dispersed.

It is also noticeable that on the wall behind the subject matter hangs a scroll signed off by Xu Beihong himself.

Portrait of a Young Lady bears some semblance to Portrait of Miss Jenny, 1939.

[ Image taken from China Economic Net ]

Portrait of Miss Jenny, 1939, Oil on canvas

Portrait of Miss Jenny depicts a lady seated on a rocking chair. The lady wears a full-length dress, accompanied by black heels and a gold necklace. Seated in what appears to be a study room or library, she appears affluent and hostile. [Although these two are not necessarily co-related of course]

The way Portrait of Miss Jenny has been painted is very much similar to Portrait of a Young Lady as the brush strokes in the former have also been applied rather thickly, with moderate attempt at blending.

Overall, I prefer Portrait of a Young Lady to Portrait of Miss Jenny. I prefer the brighter colours used in Portrait of a Young Lady, as opposed to the gloominess that the dark colours of Portrait of Miss Jenny seem to evoke. Moreover, I do not fancy the glacial expression of Miss Jenny’s. (:

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