Heroines of the Yangs-Mu Guiying's Taking Command and Seated Lady by Lin Fengmian belong to a Norwegian shipping company executive. In 1945 he was assigned to work at the Hong Kong branch and occasionally went to Shanghai in the 1950s to 1960s. Through a doctor friend from Hong Kong, he met Lin Fengmian and visited his studio in Shanghai, purchasing several works by the artist.
The colour and composition of Lin Fengmian's paintings are heavily reminiscent of Western oil paintings, yet through careful study of subject matter and brushwork one can easily recognize the deep-seated Chinese touch which the artist inserts in all his works.
Lin Fengmian's interest in Chinese Opera began in the early 1950s. The artist was captivated by the dynamic poses struck by Chinese Opera dancers, which reminded him of French Cubism. In Heroines of the Yangs-Mu Guiying's Taking Command, Lin depicts the steps and movements of the characters with invisible lines using geometric forms, their masks well-researched for its accurate reflection of specific operas delineated in vibrant colours.
Lin Fengmian's inspiration for drawing ladies comes from Chinese ceramics and the famous ceramics of the Tang and Song dynasty. Song dynasty ceramics are well-known for their almost-translucent thinness and delicate curves, and Lin borrowed the same imagery to create fragile, elegant women similar to that of a precious 'white jade' ceramic piece that is inviting and irresistable. In Seated Lady, Lin cleverly presents these Chinese themes and contexts in a Western manner - with an understanding of both Eastern and European culture, Lin appealed to the tastes of European visitors in Shanghai and Hong Kong, who brought his pieces back to Europe with them and remained in their collections until now.
Heroines of the Yangs-Mu Guiying Taking Command