Wu Ping was born in 1920 in Yuao, Zhejiang Province, China. He has a courtesy name of Kanbai. The artist was born into a literati family and learned calligraphy and Chinese painting with his father as a small child. At just more than ten years old, he started a seal-cutting business at the Jung-bao Hall there. After he came of age, he became a pupil of Deng San-mu and Yu Pei-heng respectively. Influenced by family and instructed by teacher-friends, Wu developed a solid foundation in calligraphy, painting, seal-cutting and literature. He resided in Hong Kong in 1940 and moved to Taiwan in 1949 to serve a post at the Investigation Bureau, Ministry of Justice. Thereafter, he participated in Chi Hsiu Painting Society, Hai Chiao Seal-engraving Society and Liu Liu Painting Society to exchange views with members. Wu was awarded with the Nobility Award in oil painting from the Republic of China Painting Association and the Sun Yat-sen Literature and Arts Award in seal cutting in 1978. In 1983, he became the Calligraphy and Painting Department Director of National Palace Museum on invitation. During his office term, Wu explored the works of famous Chinese artists of different times, which broadened his visions. Wu used to be a board member of the Seal Cutting Academic Society of the Republic of China and has had many solo exhibitions. He retired from National Palace Museum in 1991 and remains a painter now.
Wu Ping is good at flower and bird painting. The artist’s paintings are featured by anthocyanin pigment and dye in a refreshing, creative style. The common subjects in his paintings include Chinese herbaceous peonies, bamboos, tree peonies, lotus leaves and plantains. No matter realist or expressive, his paintings carry a unique sentiment of his own. A peacock and a peony flower are shown in this picture. While they are considered among the most beautiful things in this world, Wu presents them in the most graceful, mellow and simple way, so that the bird and the flower are rid of earthly coquettishness and become elegant. Using layers of a single ink color, Wu manifests the colorfulness and softness of the peacock’s feathers. Wu also used the skills of Shanghai School in flower and bird painting: without a traditional ink contour, the artist is able to express the verves of the peony “as heavy as seal engravings on paper” and “as sharp as lines drawn by an awl on sands,” in the mean time keeping a sense of ethereality of his works. The artist has received many praises for this artistic character of his.
Wu started learning calligraphy and traditional painting with his father when he lived in mainland China as a child. His father Wu Ke-gang was the student of famous Shanghai-school artist Jiang Dan-shu and renowned monk Li Shu-tong. Wu’s father was skilled in poetry, literature, calligraphy and painting, especially landscape painting. He used to learn flower painting from Kao Yi-hung (1908-1982) after moving to Taiwan in 1949. Wu first practicing regular calligraphy scripts of the Tang Dynasty and turned to seal scripts and large seal scripts of Zhou and Qin Dynasties at a later stage. He had a wide collection of inscriptions and studied the history of calligraphy art. It was by writing after the scripts that he learned the essence of the five types of calligraphy: seal, clerical, regular, semi-cursive and cursive scripts. The artist is best at writing semi-cursive and cursive scripts, which he learned from artist Wang Duo. He studies bronze inscriptions from Shang and Zhou Dynasties, as well as clerical scripts from the Han Dynasty, to acquire some nostalgic fun. His running scripts are smooth and carefree without being over-sleaky. Wu practices calligraphy daily and never slacks off. Such dedication results in stable brushstrokes, solid characters and a unique personal style in his calligraphy work. With painting, he focuses on flowers and birds. Wu’s paintings are based on traditions and infused with creative ideas from life. In a distinctive manner, the artist manifests a rare type of simplicity. Wu was inspired by his father to create seal engravings since little. As Wu grew older, he began learning the skills from Teng San-mu. With clean-cut engravings, Wu creates an artistic world of his own. Wu’s seal engravings are based on the ones of Han Dynasty. He has inherited the engraving skills of the “Zhejiang School” and the sealing techniques of “Yushan School.” He establishes a personal style of pomposity, unusualness and unrestrainedness by integrating traditional sealing, brick engraving and epigraph engravings.
|English title：||Peacocks in Black Water Ink|
|Medium / Classification：||ink painting and calligraphy|
|Collection Unit：||National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts|
|Contact method for authorization：||
Guide to the Use of Image Files and Data from the Online Collection Database
|Related Exhibition：||Unique Vision Ⅱ：Highlights from the National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts Collection|