In early 1929, Chen Cheng-po took another trip in China to find new inspiration. He was rewarded with a breakthrough in his attempt to fuse Eastern and Western doctrines in Stream. Using West Lake's famous scenery, the "Broken Bridge", as the theme and borrowing the "one river, two shores" composition in traditional Chinese ink wash painting, he creates a multi-viewpoint space where the viewer may explore and loiter within the landscape of the Lower Yangtze featuring a meandering river, drifting boats and distant mountains.
The electric poles, a symbol of modern utility, give West Lake a different look from historical paintings by the literati of the past. Pedestrians on the bridge and pairs of figures sitting along the shore inject warmth into the wintery sight. Chen consciously introduces the Chinese ink wash style by using the brush to create a poetic image, delineating the boats, oars, branches and rocks with dark outlines. Finally, a splash of white snow on distant mountains completes the theme of "remnant snow on the broken bridge." Chen's endeavor to blend Eastern and Western themes and techniques is overt throughout this painting.
Tsaiji Lyu (Jessica Hada), "A Pivotal Moment in Taiwanese Modern Art: Chen Cheng-Po’s Shanghai Period in Historical Perspectives," in Journey through Jiangnan: A Pivotal Moment in Chen Cheng-Po's Artistic Quest, ed. Yuchun Lin et al. (Taipei City: Taipei Fine Arts Museum, 2012), 16-28.
Hanni Chiu, "Reappraising Chen Cheng-Po’s ‘Shanghai Period,’” in Journey through Jiangnan: A Pivotal Moment in Chen Cheng-Po's Artistic Quest ed. Yuchun Lin et al. ( Taipei City: Taipei Fine Arts Museum, 2012), 32-49.