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20 Jan 2016 - 01 May 2016

Nature in its harmonious forms: Paintings by Tao Wan is a comprehensive selection of the artist’s creative output and artistic theories. The exhibition highlights objects from the recent acquisition of nearly three hundred works generously donated by Tao’s family, which include landscape paintings and seals.

Tao was renowned for his landscape paintings. The distinctive qualities of his artwork incorporated traditional styles rendered with an agitated, dry and ragged brush. One of his primary inspirations was to reinterpret the ancient masters, refining and including the essence of natural landscapes, so as to create a uniquely expressive style that illustrates his particular mindscape. He insisted on including elements from nature that reflect the following: “the mind always leads the brush” and “don’t be held back by sketches”. Tao was perceived as being a Chinese traditionalist, and was a major representative of the art of Cantonese Diaspora painting and its development in 20th century Hong Kong.

Tao moved to Hong Kong from Canton after 1949, which is where he began to develop his landscape paintings and critical theories of Chinese art. The current exhibition presents the evolution of Tao’s artistic style from the early 1950s to 2003. Over one hundred objects will be displayed, including paintings, calligraphy, seals, manuscripts, photographs and a video demonstrating his painting technique. The landscape paintings are categorised into Pursuing the Past, Essence of a Natural Landscape, Rhythm of a Mindscape, and Album Leaves. Many of the exhibits have never been shown in public, including his manuscript Theories on Chinese Painting, his calligraphy, paintings and seals. While the current exhibition illustrates the artistic development, achievements and contributions of Tao Wan, the broader collection, including historical documents, retells his entire life—a story that is familiar to many Hong Kong Cantonese refugee painters in the 20th century. These objects form a more complete and vivid picture of his oeuvre, and are essential for an understanding and analysis of the history of the global Cantonese Diaspora, and of the general history of Chinese art during this period.


Tao Wan


Rocky Mountains


 134 cm x 48.5 cm


Fragrance of Lotus


 85.5 cm x 34 cm


Clouds and Water Mountain Hut

 Side Inscription: To the owner of Clouds and Water Mountain Hut Engraved by Luo Xiaoshan


 (Lok Hiu Shan) in 1974

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