Pair of hanging scrolls, ink on paper

Included in this item (2)


  • Gao Jianfu, Couplet in Running Script
  • Identifier Type
    Locally defined identifier
    Identifier Value
    Collection of Phoenix Art Museum. Gift of Jeannette Shambaugh Elliot. 1989.45.A-B
  • Dimension: calligraphy 87.5 x 21.5 cm; mounting 157.5 x 31 cm; scroll bar 31.5 cm
  • Calligraphy: 茶竹有奇節 蓮子多苦 Translation: Some of the Tea Bamboo have special gnarls, Most of the lotus seeds have bitter core plumules.
  • Inscription: 倚神道兄之属 弟高崙剪錢
  • Artist's Seal: 高侖印信 Seal of Gao Lun - square relief
  • Collector's Seal: 蒼梧審定 Authenticated by Cang Wu - square relief 彭煜 ? 臧 Collection of Peng Yu? - square intaglio
  • Gao Jianfu (1879-1951, alternative name Gao Lun 高崙) first studied Chinese painting under the local artist Ju Lian (1828-1904) with his brother Gao Qifeng (1889-1935) and Chen Shuren (1883-1949). After studying western style painting under a French painter, he traveled to Japan in 1905 and saw a new national style of painting called nihonga. Japanese artists developed nihonga by embracing Western techniques, such as perspective and shading, to revitalize their traditional style of painting. Upon returning to China, Gao, along with his brother and Chen Shuren (1883-1949), worked to establish a new Chinese “national painting” by incorporating Western techniques and taking up some nihonga subjects, such as animals and birds of prey. They and their followers are called Lingnan school of painters. Although the Lingnan School had great success in Guangdong and some other areas, the style never became mainstream. In the early 1900s until around the 1920s, the Gao brothers were also involved in politics supporting revolutionary ideas. The association that they formed in Tokyo later became the base for Sun Yat-sen’s Chinese Nationalist Party. When the communist party took power in China in 1949, Gao moved to Macao where he died later. In this pair, Gao Jianfu created an interesting contrast between dry, thick ink brushstrokes and wet, thin ink brushstrokes by selecting the time to rewet his brush with ink. The dry brushwork that shows the background paper exposed is called feibai (Eng., “flying white”). Although Chinese calligraphers had used this technique for more than a thousand years, here feibai enhances Gao’s unorthodoxly linear running script. Reference: “Gao Jianfu” in Grove Art Online article url:, opens in a new window

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