The exhibition selects a hundred paintings by different painters across late Ming dynasty to modern times. These exhibits present a wide diversity in subjects as well as styles of Chinese paintings selected from the Museum collection.
Works on display include the paintings of early years by well-known Guangdong painters such as Zhang Mu, Li Jian, Liang Yuwei, Su Liupeng and Su Renshan, etc. In later years, Ju Chao and Ju Lian brothers, who had created the “Geshan School”, became the forerunners of the “Lingnan School of Paintings”, which marked a milestone in Chinese painting history. Among others, the “Three Masters of the Lingnan School” — Gao Jianfu, Gao Qifeng and Chen Shuren as well as their students, namely He Qiyuan, Zhao Shao’ang, Guan Shanyue and Yang Shanshen, etc., are a group of pioneers who adopted the Western perspective into traditional Chinese paintings. Besides, a number of Guangdong painters from “The Chinese Painting Research Society” like Pan He, Yao Lixiu, etc. also advocated reforms on Chinese paintings and their views had exerted great impact on the art circle at that time.
Since the 20th century, particularly after the founding of the People’s Republic of China, painters throughout the country such as Qi Baishi, Huang Binhong, Xu Beihong, Pan Tianshou, Lin Fengmian, Zhang Daqian, Li Keran, Lu Yanshao, and also contemporary painters like Wu Guanzhong and Huang Yongyu, etc., all sought to break away from traditional styles of painting under the influence of western ideas — either adapting Western techniques, or making innovative moves in reference of the traditional methods; their efforts have all contributed to the diversity of painting styles of the time. Meanwhile, some painters in Hong Kong insisted to preserve the Chinese painting traditions, namely Li Yanshan, Huang Bore, Peng Ximing, etc. On the other hand, there were some painters who advocated innovative and revolutionary ink paintings like Ding Yanyong, Liu Guosong and Lu Shoukun, etc. After mid-1980s, the “New Literati Paintings” emerged in the tide of “Cultural Revival”. A group of young Chinese painters who had experienced the Cultural Revolution including Shi Hu, Hu Yongkai, Nie Ou and Lu Fusheng, etc. developed a unique art scene of the time and its influence still echoes today.