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Luo Jianwu (b. 1944) 羅建武

“Clear, Wondrous, Ancient, Strange” 清奇古怪, 2005-2013

Hanging scroll, ink on paper
621.0 x 74.3 cm. (244 1/2 x 29 1/4 in.)

Inscription: “Begun painting eight years ago, now finally completed, by the seventy-year-old elderly man Luo Jianwu.”

Artist’s seals:
1. Luo Jianwu (bottom right)

2. Suihan houdiao (bottom left) (“In the depths of winter [one knows] that [pines and cypress] are the last to wither,” a quote from Confucius)

3. Chenghuai (top right) (“Embracing purity”)

4. Holuo (top left) (“The River Luo”)

5. Chachi (lower right) (“Crazy for tea”)

6. Cong wu suo hao (upper left) (“Following what I love”)

Please find brief write-up below

Luo was born in Sichuan province as the Japanese army advanced across China in 1944. In Taiwan, where the family was able to relocate, he had an opportunity to study Western styles of painting and drawing at the Guoli Yichuan, the National Art Institute. Immigrating to the USA in 1987, Luo lived and worked in New York City where even Central Park provided a window to nature essential for his painting. While regularly visiting Beijing since 1989, Luo, the one-time graphic artist and fashion designer and presently teacher, calligrapher, painter, and tea-master, made that city his permanent residence in 2008. Beijing and its environs are the homes of venerable rocks and trees that continue to inspire Luo in his work. The Chicago Art Institute, the university museums at Harvard and Princeton, and many private collectors have collected his paintings. Luo’s paintings are distinguished by fastidiousness and meticulousness, often rooted in the spirit and style of the iconic literati master of the Ming period, Wen Zhengming (1470-1559). Also noteworthy is Luo’s complete obliviousness to market concerns. Nor does time enter into his consciousness as he allows each painting to take as much time as it needs to become a complete work of art, as in the present painting, done over a period of eight years. When told that there are few walls, even in major museums, that could possibly accommodate such a large work, his response, basically, was “So what!”

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