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Description/Since the May Fourth Movement, the Chinese art community has appealed frequently to reform Chinese painting and to expand the influence of art education on the society by organizing a nation-wide art exhibition. Thanks to the hard work of advocates like Cai Yuan-pei and Liu Haisu, the Minister of Education held the first National Art Exhibition in Shanghai in 1929. Over a thousand works were exhibited, including Afternoon at the Silk Shop by Chen Cheng-po under the "Western Painting" section. In this work, the curved profiles formed by the waterway and arch bridge intersect with the colorful draping fabric, the lines formed by which are parallel with that of the electric poles, buildings and cloth drying racks. A signboard on a building to the left reads "Jiuhe Silk Dye Workshop" in small writing. The picture is rich with variation in vertical and horizontal lines. The rainbow-colored silk complements the polychromatic strokes of the river, which is flanked by buildings depicted using flat passages of brown-greens to create an understated visual appeal. This work was referred to under the title of Souzhou for a long time, but research has established the likely location to be Jiuhe Dye Workshop under Tongjiang Bridge in Hangzhou. Dye workshops are often built by canals due to their massive consumption of water. Here, Chen amalgamates Eastern and Western painting styles to faithfully describe a unique industry in the Lower Yangtze region and the local everyday life.
townscapes painting， dye workshop， boat， arch bridge， canal， electric pole， staffage， clothes drying rack， Hangzhou， Jiuhe Silk Dye Workshop
Related Collections/No related collections.
- Chuanying Yen, "A Comparative Study in the Official Dimension of Fine Art — The Taiwan Fine Art Exhibition of 1927 and the Shanghai National Fine Art Exhibition of 1929," Bulletin of the Institute of History and Philology Academia Sinicaa 73:4 (2012.12): 625-683.
- Yijing Xie, "The Modern Transformation in How Paintings Were Viewed and Critiqued in the Early Republican Years—Using Western Painting-Related Activities in Shanghai as an Example” (Master's thesis, Graduate Institute of Art Studies, National Central University, Zhongli City, 2007).
- Ruikuan Liu, Modernization in Chinese Art—An Analysis of Art Journals and Art Exhibitions (1911-1937) (Beijing: Joint Publishing, 2008), 374.
- 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.
- Duke University Library, “Digital Collections :Drying Dyed Cloth.”
Afternoon at the Silk Shop 1929
Materials & Techniques：Oil on canvas
Collection of Taipei Fine Arts Museum
Location:Jiuhe Silk Dye Workshop (near today's Tongjiang Bridge, Shangcheng Dist., Hangzhou City, Zhejiang Province, China)