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Description/The artist's inscription written in Japanese at the bottom of the work indicates that he was painting the distant view of the Monopoly Bureau from the vantage point of Xikou Village (today's Songshan District in Taipei). The Monopoly Bureau (renamed first to "Taiwan Provincial Tobacco and Liquor Monopoly Bureau" after the world war II and to "Taiwan Tobacco and Liquor Corporation" today) was established in 1901 under the Taiwan Governor-General's Office, with separate departments for tobacco, salt/camphor and liquor and branch offices, factories and testing centers set up all over Taiwan. It controlled the production and sale of commodities and its revenue was a key source of income for the Governor-General's Office. In this picture, the artist places the main redbrick structure of the Monopoly Bureau at the center and extends perspective lines from there. The roughly 1:2 ratio of ground and sky creates a sense of vastness and spotlights the building on the horizon. The primary palette consists of browns and greens in the foreground, and blues and purples for the building in the middle ground and the distant mountains in the background. The composition and color setting clearly reveal the influence of his teacher, Ishikawa Kinichiro, during this period. In contrast with Ishikawa's pastoral style, however, Chen's early watercolor sketches tend to portray sceneries in a more straightforward manner. In this example, he concentrates his efforts on the building and the factory chimney discharging thick smoke. The relatively simplistic depiction of the surrounding farmland reflects the priority placed by the Japanese Governor-General's Office on industrial development during an era of modernization in Taiwan.
Related Collections/No related collections.
- Chuanying Yen, "The Vision of Landscape in the Early Modern Taiwanese Art," Taida Journal of Art History 9 (2009.09): 193-195.
- Shihming Pai, "'Sketching from Life’ and the Formation of the Modern Landscape: An Analysis of Chen Cheng-Po's Early Watercolors (1913-1924) and Their Significance in Modern Paintings," in The Spring of Alishan—New Perceptions on Chen Cheng-Po and Taiwanese Art History, ed. Soka Arts and Cultural Center Committee (Taipei City: Chin-Shuan Cultural & Educational Foundation, 2013), 92-135.
- National Central Library. Image and Artifact Data on "Taiwan Governor-General's Monopoly Bureau (today’s Taiwan Provincial Tobacco and Liquor Monopoly Bureau)." Taiwan Memory, National Central Library
- Yilin He, “Taiwan Governor-General's Monopoly Bureau.” Encyclopedia of Taiwan, Ministry of Culture
A Distant View of the Monopoly Bureau 1916.05.24
Materials & Techniques：Watercolor on paper
Location:The Monopoly Bureau of the Governer-General's Office (Today's Taiwan Tobacco & Liquor Corporation; No. 4, Sec. 1, Nanchang Rd., Zhongzheng Dist., Taipei, Taiwan)