Action Painting to Chinese Calligraphy and Back – A 50-year Journey in Seven Pictures

Mark Rothko Violet, Black, Orange, Yellow on White and Red  (1949)Violet, Black, Orange, Yellow on White and Red, 1949 - Mark Rothko





Jackson Pollock  Number 25  (1950)

Number 25 - Jackson Pollock

Willem de Kooning Woman I  (1952)   Woman I, 1950-52 by Willem de Kooning









Jiro Yoshihara Blue Calligraphic Lines on Dark Blue (1963)Jiro Yoshihara



Gu Gan The Mountains are Breaking Up (1985) *

Modern Chinese Calligraphy Kim Munson, Asian Art History, SFSU text © 2008. All Rights Reserved. Artwork shown for academ...



Xu Bing Books from Heaven (1988)  


Cy Twombly Untitled (Peony blossoms), (2007) ***

Untitled, (Blooming, A Scattering of Blossoms & Other Things) - Cy Twombly




NB     The images are from  which allows unlimited copying for informational and educational purposes.

*     Gu Gan’s The Mountains are Breaking Up: top character is ‘sh’an’ (mountain) and bottom one ‘cui’ (crumble).

**    Xu Bing’s Book from Heaven [the word ‘heaven’ here is I think the meaning implied in the Chinese title (Tianshu). The title is often literally translated into Book from the Sky.] : All the characters in the books and manuscripts here are non-existent, not Chinese words at all. 

***  Cy Twombly Untitled (Peony blossoms): A continuation of American Abstract Expressionism from the 1950s, re-interpreting the action painting of Jackson Pollock and Willem de Kooning as well as the color field work of Mark Rothko (first three images above).  The peonies also allude to the prized place of peonies in Japanese and Chinese art and culture. More about this in my next post.

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