As one of the most outstanding and representative figures to have followed the Party’s line in the field of literature and art, Liu Wenxi, “the People’s Artist,” focused his works on the people throughout his life. Permanently rooted in the yellow earth of northwest China, he delved deep into the daily lives of the masses and expressed his passion for the leaders, the people and life through his paintings, as well as his sense of mission to eulogize the era. With his exquisite skills and expressive brushworks, he created a series of typical artistic images of great significance for the times, which had a tremendous influence on the development of contemporary ink wash figure painting in China.
The emergence ofgreat masters is inseparable from their extraordinary artistic talents, and even more so from their firm artistic beliefs and persistent artistic exploration. In the early 1950s, when he was still studying at Shanghai Yucai School, Liu studied Chairman Mao’s Talks at the Yan’an Forum on Literature and Art under the guidance of his teacher Wang Qi. Thereafter, the spirit of the talks remained the foundation of his artistic practice throughout his life. He unswervingly put the spirit into practice through his artistic concept of “familiarizingoneself with the people, strictly depicting their appearance, focusing on ink and brushworks, and seeking innovation.” The perfect combination of theory and practice outlined his unique and brilliant artistic life.
During his more than 60 years of artistic creation, he traversed the hills and valleys of northern Shaanxi. He learned about the spirit of great leaders by visiting revolutionary sites and studying their writings. He also observed the features and spiritual temperament of the working people and the characteristics of the times by living together with his farmer friends. Liu creatively lifted Chinese realismpainting to new heights with the fusion of Chinese and Western styles. His “Yellow Earth School” of painting with distinctive regional and epochal characteristics has become an artistic powerhouse in contemporary Chinese painting.
All his life, Liu Wenxi regarded the people as the source and motivation of his artistic pursuits, leaving the world with numerous works worthy of the nation and the times. In order to comprehensively present Liu’s creative history, creative philosophy and contributions to the times, this exhibition systematically displays his representative artworks, precious images and documents from various periods in three sections. It not only conveys his deep and lasting love for the Loess Plateau and the people living on it to the many literary and art workers as well asthe general public, but also offers a tribute to the centenary of the founding of the Communist Party of China.