Author: WU DAYU 吴大羽

Size: 52.8×37cm

Signed and dated: Circa in 1950s

Estimate: No Reserve

Final Price: RMB 11,000,000

1996 Wu Dayu / P76-77 / Lin & Keng Gallery, Inc.,
2001 Wu Dayu / P118 / National Museum of History
2003 Retrospective of Wu Dayu’s Oil Painting / P109 / Shanghai Art Museum
2006 Wu Dayu / P47 / Lin & Keng Gallery, Inc.,
2013 Works of Representatives of Shanghai Artists in the Century: Wu Dayu / P114 / Shanghai Artists Association
2015 Comprehensive Study of Dayu Wu / P121 / Xiamen University Press
2015 Works of Wu Dayu / P96 / People’s Fine Arts Publishing House

2001 Poineers of Chinese Oil Paintings - Solo Exhibition of Wu Dayu, National Museum of History / Taipei

As one of the first generation of modern Chinese painters, Wu Dayu had been overlooked by the academic circles for a long time. He and Lin Fengmian jointly promoted the new art education and trained many masters-to-be including, Wu Guanzhong, Zao Wou-Ki, and Zhu Dequn. As Nie Weigu once stated, “In the early 1980s, abstract oil paintings began in Shanghai and have continued to develop to this day, and as a key figure who advocated conceptual reforms and transformations in artistic practices, Wu Dayu played an important role.” From the perspective of innovative research for the language of oil painting, contrary to Lin Fengmian, Wu Dayu’s exploration directly addressed the essentials of creating new oil painting language. The legacy of paintings and manuscripts he had left behind reflect the integrity and coherence of his lifelong artistic practice and thought. It must be said that Wu Dayu, with his amazing perseverance and creativity, has shown us the generation of artists’ innovation and exploration of modern Chinese abstract oil paintings in the wave of Western learning.
Wu Dayu, the first of a generation of Chinese abstract painters, is also a poet and recluse. His independent and upright, honest and sensible personality is destined to present a strong individuality and taste in art. Wu Dayu has repeatedly expressed his admiration for Tao Yuanming’s spirit. In his view, the essence of art lies in morality. The vitality of art comes from the perfect integration of lived experience and the real world. Therefore, Wu’s long-term reclusion unmatched the dazzling and glory Xu Beihong and Lin Fengmian enjoyed at the time. Either with regards to personal temperament or social factors, Wu was not suitable for the grandeur of the ostentatious. This reclusive state of living as a literati allowed him to adopt the simplest approach to explore the essence of the soul and then achieve the creation of the “Chinese-style” abstract oil painting in line with the new era.
The Colorful Rhymes series is among Wu Dayu’s most well-known works, and Luofu Dreams is the highlight of this series. This painting has been recorded and published on many occasions to represent Wu Dayu’s fierce artistic passion. On this abstract image, its diverse colors and fast strokes succeed in creating a gorgeous world of illusion, where the flowing Prussian blue and cool dark brown, dazzling vermilion and fine ochre, complemented by soft pink, orchestrate a strong sense of rhythm about life. Beneath the gestural lines and the surface of the abstraction, one finds the view of a beautiful home, where a girl sits alone at the window and enjoys the sun. However, under numerous strokes, this scene became one of Wu Dayu’s “potential images.” His audacious brushstrokes make the painting bold and compelling, although his painting techniques have been derived from Picasso’s cubism, however, they demonstrate speed and clarity.
Wu Dayu once stated, “My painting is grounded on the integration of the potential image, illumination, and rhythm. His illumination is conceived as colors that connect form and sound, and brings together time and space.” In addition to the traditions of Chinese calligraphy, Wu Dayu appropriated the language of Modern painting from the West in constructing the aesthetics of the Wu-style abstractions. Hence, Colorful Rhyme – Lufu Dreams nevertheless embodies the meanings and grandeur of traditional Chinese calligraphy from its rapidly executed brushstrokes. This is precisely the specifics of the artist’s understanding of the spirit of oriental culture.
Furthermore, Wu Dayu appropriated the intellectual framework of modern art from the
West, who sought and contemplated oriental languages of expression in ancient Chinese philosophy, integrating techniques of abstraction from the West into the pursuit of a personalized oriental rhythm, to create a melodic sense of aesthetics. Perhaps, this is exactly what he wrote in his letter to Wu Guanzhong: “What is exposed to the eyes can only be limited by the ambiguity of the potential image. The beauty of this image should be as clear as the frozen icicle and the lucid moon, that embodies the likeliness of form and matter. It is more abstract than the body of the building, and like a piece of music that is transmitted to the front of the picture. It is like a rhythm without sound, a dance that keeps its moving postures at rest, like a good sentence without giving any words.”