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Maker(s):Zhou Chen (signed)
Culture:Chinese (ca.1450 - 1535)
Title:Scroll: Recluse with Attendants Under a Pine Tree
Date Made:16th century
Materials:ink and color on silk brocade
Place Made:China
Measurements:scroll: 53 3/4 x 22 1/2 in.; 136.525 x 57.15 cm
Accession Number:  SC 1920.53.58
Credit Line:Bequest of Charles L. Freer
Museum Collection:  Smith College Museum of Art

man; landscape; vegetation

Label Text:
Charles Lang Freer, whose gifts to SCMA inaugurated its Asian collection, purchased Spring Landscape with Travelers from Zhang Yinchun, a Hangzhou collector who sold him a number of paintings attributed to the Song (960–1279) and Yuan (1271–1368) dynasties. Zhang personally inscribed the title of this painting and attributed it to the Northern Song artist Chen Yongzhi (active first half of the eleventh century), a court painter known for religious wall paintings, although none of his works survive today. Given that it features a composition combining a Northern-Song-style towering mountain in the background and a Southern-Song-style corner scene in the foreground, this painting was most likely painted by an unknown Ming artist in association with the fifteenth-century Zhe school, whose artists excelled at copying both Northern and Southern Song landscape styles.

Another Freer scroll, Recluse with Attendants under a Pine Tree, depicts a reclusive scholar under a pine tree contemplating a bamboo grove in the mist. It has a landscape style close to that of academic painters serving the court, and bears the artist’s signature at the lower right corner, which reads “Gusu Zhou Chen xie”(Painted by Zhou Chen of Gusu). A versatile professional artist in Suzhou (also known as Gusu), Zhou Chen was renowned for his works that catered to customers’ demands. Zhou once served as a ghost painter for his young protégé Tang Yin (1470–1523), a celebrated Wu school artist who received many requests and commissions for his works. These paintings are valuable examples of the landscape styles of middle-Ming professional artists in South China. They also reflect Freer’s taste in his enthusiastic pursuit of Song-Yuan paintings during the last years of his life.

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