Sunday, January 9, 2011

The Rediscovery of Artist Fang Rending [方人定]

Returning from a Hunt, 1932 by Fang Rending

Internationally known in his lifetime, Chinese-born artist Fang Rending (方人定 - 1901-1975, sometimes know as Fan Jen-Ting or Fong Yan-Ting) contributed to the modernization of Chinese painting through published writings, teachings and international art shows beginning in the mid-1920s.

Throughout the Twenties and Thirties, his painting met acclaim as he exhibited in China, Japan, France, Brussels, Germany, Britain, the Soviet Union and Czechoslovakia. Living in the United States from 1939-1941, Fang added solo exhibitions in New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco to his growing list of international shows, and participated in both the Golden Gate International Exhibition and the New York World’s Fair. Most significant to local art historians, in 1939 Fang was the first Chinese artist to receive a one-man exhibit at SFMOMA. (At the time both he and the museum were working under different names; he, Fong Yan-Ting, while the museum was named the San Francisco Museum of Art).

Stepping on Snow, 1931 by Fang Rending

Today few people in the United States are familiar with the name Fang Rending. While auction prices for his work are in the thousands, collectors in Hong Kong and China remain his primary audience.

Join us on January 15th, for the rare opportunity to learn about the life of the artist, directly from his granddaughter, Tanya Fang. In addition to showing a selection of his finest paintings, she will discuss his beginnings as a law student, his artistic development and philosophies, and the effect of his ‘re-education’ during China’s Cultural Revolution.

The Rediscovery of Fang Rending will be presented Saturday, January 15, 2011 from 3:30-4:30 PM at the Latino/Hispanic Community Meeting Room at the Main Library's Lower Level. This program is co-presented by the Chinese Center and is free and open to the public.

On a Leisure Day, 1931 by Fang Rending

There are two-length books in the Library's collections written in Chinese:

方人定评传 [Fang Rending ping zhuan] = Biography and appraisal of Fang Rending by Li Rulun 李汝伦 (花城出版社 [Hua cheng chu ban she], 2001.

方人定 [Fang Rending] by 郎绍君 [Lang Shaojun] and [云雪梅] Yun Xuemei (河北敎育出版社 [Hebei jiao yu chu ban she], 2003).

The Allgemeines Künstlerlexikon, volume 34 (K.G. Saur) provides a single-column German language overview of his life and works as well as a short bibliography.

Modern Chinese Artists: A Biographical Dictionary by Michael Sullivan (University of California Press, 2006) provides a short biography. The Benezit Dictionary of artists (Gründ, 2006) includes a short biography and some auction information.

Fang Rending is also listed in An Index-Dictionary of Chinese Artists, Collectors, and Connoisseurs with Character Identification by Modified Stroke Count by Nancy N. Seymour (Scarecrow Press, 1988). An Index to Reproductions of Paintings by Twentieth Century Chinese Artists by Ellen Johnston Laing (University of Oregon, 1984) provides citation to reproductions of Fang's work in Chinese language sources.

Art and Revolution in Modern China: The Lingnan (Cantonese) School of Painting, 1906-1951 by Ralph Croizier (University of California Press, c1988) includes a couple of black and white reproductions of Fang Rending's work as well as a discussion of his important to the Lingnan School of Painting [嶺南畫派的繪畫藝術].

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