Fu Baoshi is his artist's name taken at the age of 18 to express his admiration for Shitao, the visionary artist of early Qing time who positioned the tiny human activity within the unfathomable immensity of nature.
Fu's meeting with the eminent scholar Guo Moruo in 1943 draws the artist's attention to the poems of Qu Yuan, collected under the Han. This semi-legendary poet from the dark period of the Warring States is an equivalent of Homer. He provides an invaluable link with ancient mythologies, posing mystical questions without seeking to provide answers.
On June 5 in Beijing, Poly Auction sells as lot 2250 Mountain Ghost, a scenery including and illustrating a poem by Qu Yuan. Made in 1945 this ink and colors 133 x 66 cm is resolutely original by its entanglement of the lines and by the striking contrast between the actions on the ground and in the clouds.
The young woman in the foreground is a symbol of beauty which already inspired the artists of the Song dynasty interpreting the same poem. She seems standing but the lower part of her gown does not touch the ground. The stormy sky releases for the careful observer two divinities harnessed behind the red leopard.
On May 15, 2016, China Guardian sold for RMB 52M including premium a scroll of same size made in 1946 starring the same characters. The features of the dress blend into the landscape and the seated attitude of this ghost is therefore another illusion.
In 1949 Guo becomes one of the top leaders of the new People's Republic. Using the story of Qu Yuan's suicide protesting against the invasion of his country by the Qin, he makes the old poet an exemplary martyr of the Chinese patriotism. Fu continues to illustrate the gods and clouds of Qu Yuan. A large 223 x 133 cm picture painted in 1954 remained unsold at Poly in June 2013.
SOLD for RMB 64M including premium