Benevolent Artist: Exhibition in Commemoration of the 120th Birth Anniversary of Zhu Lesan

Benevolent Artist: Exhibition in Commemoration of the 120th Birth Anniversary of Zhu Lesan

HANGZHOU, China, July 5, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — To commemorate the 120th birth anniversary of the celebrated Chinese artist Zhu Lesan, an exhibition entitled “Benevolent Artist: Exhibition in Commemoration of the 120th Birth Anniversary of Zhu Le San” kicked off on July 3 at the Art Museum of China Academy of Art. This exhibition is a comprehensive retrospective of Mr. Zhu Lesan’s artistic journey across four stages of his life, namely, “Eight Years of Seeking the Tao and Living in Seclusion,” “His Time in the Shanghai Academy of Fine Arts,” “Reunion with Three Old Comrades in Zhejiang,” and “Another Epiphany Moment in His Old Age”. The First Zhu Lesan Scholarship of China Academy of Art was awarded during the opening ceremony of the exhibition.

Mr. Zhu Lesan, originally known as Wenxuan, had the courtesy name Lesan and used the pseudonym Xizhai. He was born in Anji, Zhejiang Province. He had a strong fondness for traditional art from a young age and was a disciple of Wu Changshuo, a Chinese calligrapher and painter. He served as a professor at the Zhejiang Academy of Fine Arts (now China Academy of Art), Vice Chairman of the Zhejiang Artists Association, Vice President of the Xiling Seal Engraver’s Society, and President of the Xiling Calligraphy and Painting Academy. Mr. Zhu, having a background in medical studies, had consistently exemplified a charitable and compassionate spirit. From being a “Benevolent Doctor” to becoming a “Benevolent Artist,” these qualities define his character and serve as the guiding principles throughout his personal, artistic, and educational journey.

Mr. Zhu Lesan excels in poetry, calligraphy, painting, and seal carving, effectively incorporating them into his teaching. With a career in art education lasting over 60 years, he has dedicated almost half of his life to the China Academy of Art in Hangzhou. During the 1950s, he worked closely with other great educators such as Pan Tianshou and Wu Fuzhi, making a great contribution to art education in China. They implemented specialized teaching models for figure painting, landscape painting, and bird-and-flower painting. In 1963, Mr. Zhu, along with Mr. Pan Tianshou, Mr. Lu Weizhao, and Mr. Sha Menghai, co-launched the first undergraduate program in calligraphy and seal carving in the history of higher art education in China. They drafted the teaching syllabus for carving, delivered lectures on seal script and seal carving, and established an academic framework that emphasized both breadth and depth of knowledge in calligraphy instruction, helping many students acquire the ability to comprehend and think critically. At the age of around eighty, he spearheaded the start of graduate programs in calligraphy and seal carving, marking a significant milestone in the history of education in the country.

This exhibition is a tribute to the 120th birth anniversary of Mr. Zhu Lesan, featuring 120 artworks of the great artist, including poetry, calligraphy, paintings, and seal carvings. These works include his calligraphy pieces, which are known for their simplicity, magnificence, depth, and mastery across all four styles; his poetic compositions, which are thought-provoking and inspiring; his exquisitely vivid paintings brimming with meanings; his seal carvings that demonstrate Mr. Zhu’s dedication to achieving perfection beyond the surface. Among the exhibition’s highlights is a product of collaboration among the three masters Pan Tianshou, Wu Fuzhi, and Zhu Lesan. In this painting, each artist strives to converge their style, aiming for mutual coordination and seeking overall harmony. The final inscription and colophon were completed by Mr. Zhu Lesan.

This exhibition is jointly organized by the China Academy of Art, Xiling Seal Engraver’s Society, Beijing Fine Art Academy, and the Government of Anji County. It will last through August 5. The “Benevolent Artist: Zhu Lesan Academic Symposium” and a series of related lectures will take place concurrently. Seven publications will be released, which include Three Volumes of Zhu Lesan Collection: Bird-and-flower Painting, Seal Carvings, General Studies; as well as The Zhu Lesan Chronicle, Annotated Collection of Zhu Lesan’s Poetry, and Studies on Zhu Lesan (Part One and Two).

Exhibition Period: July 3 – August 5, 2023.

SOURCE China Academy of Art

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