Guan Shanyue

(China 1912 – 2000)

The Fragrance of plum blossom comes from the bitter coldness

Not on display
Further information

Guan Shanyue (his original name was Guan Zepei) was a native of Yangjiang, Guangdong province. He was a pupil of Gao Jianfu, one of the founders of the "Lingnan School" formed in the early years of the 20th century in southern China. This school advocated painting from life and stressed the importance of direct observation, more a Western than Chinese literati tradition.

In addition to painting many large landscape paintings inspired by his travels in the Chinese countryside, Guan was most famous for painting plum blossoms. He was not only a great and innovative painter of the creative and evolving Lingnan School, but also highly respected among Chinese painters worldwide. He held various teaching appointments including Professor and Chairman of the Chinese Painting Department at the Guangzhou Municipal College of Arts, Professor of the Huanan College of Arts and Literature, Professor and Vice-Principal of the Guangzhou College of Arts. He was also Deputy-Chairman of the Chinese Artists Association, a committee member of the Federation of Chinese Arts.

Although plum blossoms are a very popular theme in Chinese paintings, under Guan's brush they are depicted as masculine and overbearing, instead of being delicate and feminine, as in traditional literati art.

Asian Art Department, AGNSW, April 2013

Place of origin
ink on paper
68.0 x 136.3 cm
Signature & date

Signed [in Chinese translations tbc]

Gift of Andrew Lo on behalf of the Australian Association of Chinese Artists 2013
Accession number