Gift of Robert Hatfield Ellsworth, in memory of La Ferne Hatfield Ellsworth, 1986
Not on view
He Weipu takes traditional landscape compositions as a point of departure. Like the early Qing individualist painter Gong Xian (ca. 1619–89), He constructs landscape forms with dramatic contrasts of light and dark; but where Gong creates pensive abstractions, He moves in the direction of photography with its volumetric yet graphic chiaroscuro. Photography was introduced into China at mid-century, and by the 1880s photographic images were readily available in Shanghai in popular weekly magazines.
He Weipu’s velvety ink textures are built with the traditional vocabulary of brushstrokes and layered ink wash, but in places these are arranged to imitate the crosshatching of Western draftsmanship.
He Weipu was the grandson of the 19th century and calligrapher and official He Shaozhi (1799–1873)