Zhang Shuqi, a famous Chinese artist who lived in the US, was born in Pujiang, Zhejiang Province, in 1900. He dedicated his life to creating and studying bird-and-flower painting. Zhang, together with Xu Beihong and Liu Zigu, were called the "Three Masters of Jinling." In his work he emphasized the imitation of nature. He artfully combined the realistic painting skills and color theory of Western painting with the unique charm of Chinese flower-and-bird painting. His works strive to fuse colors with ink. He was adept at using white pigments, and could create five variations in tonality by varying the density of his ink. He was also known for using white as black, making the strong contrast between black and white gentle and layered, thus forming a concise, elegant, and tranquil artistic conception.
Zhang was also an outstanding educator of fine arts. He devoted most of his life to his educational work and had pupils far and wide. His unique teaching methods educated many fine artists, including Ai Qing and Ai Zhongxin. In 1932, Zhang, together with Pan Tianshou, Zhu Wenyun, Wu Fuzhi and Zhang Zhenduo, established the Bai She (White Association), a fine arts association that has played an important role in the history of modern Chinese fine arts and helped promote the development of Chinese fine arts as a whole. Commendably, Zhang was also an artist with a strong sense of social responsibility and patriotism.
On the occasion of the 120th anniversary of Zhang Shuqi's birth, the National Museum of China is holding "Sparse Shadows and Faint Fragrances: An Art Exhibition Commemorating the 120th Anniversary of Zhang Shuqi's Birth." Through a systematic review of Zhang's unique life and outstanding artistic achievements, the exhibition aims to demonstrate the life pursuit and patriotism of this master artist and guide the audience to closely experience the cultural tradition and contemporary roots revealed in the brushstrokes of the older generation of artists. In this way, the audience will conscientiously carry forward the Chinese spirit, enhance their cultural confidence, and make new and greater contributions to the realization of the Chinese Dream of national rejuvenation.