Former residence of Qiu Jin

Wu Guanzhong1988

Hong Kong Museum of Art

Hong Kong Museum of Art
Hong Kong , Hong Kong

Wu Guanzhong said, “I made the painting Former residence of Qiu Jin in ink in the 1980s. The big black door in the centre of the thick wall is firmly shut like a pillar between heaven and earth. High up on the door is a little red sign which lends a sombre mood to the painting, like that of a funeral parlour. As if in mourning, a couple of swallows perch on the power line above the wall. Here is how I would describe the painting: Where rests the soul of this martyr? Her old residence resembles a black coffin, with swallows chirping away.’ Transplanted for a painting, the roof has been narrowed and curved while the black door is made sturdier to emphasize the contrast among the colours black, white and grey. With the building widened and the plaque of the residence removed, the scene becomes more abstract and the tragic mood more penetrating.”


  • Title: Former residence of Qiu Jin
  • Creator Lifespan: 1919 - 2010
  • Creator Nationality: Chinese
  • Creator Gender: Male
  • Creator Death Place: Beijing, China
  • Creator Birth Place: Yixing, Jiangsu province, China
  • Date Created: 1988
  • Theme: Landscape
  • Professor of the Central Academy of Arts and Crafts, Painter: Wu Guanzhong
  • Physical Dimensions: w137.4 x h66 cm
  • History of Donation: Donated by the artist to the Museum in 2002
  • Artist's Statement: In the words of the artist himself: “Ten years after the simple and serene Two swallows was done, I painted Former residence of Qiu Jin. The big black door is like a coffin in a tragic mime show. The swallows perching on the power line by the house are chirping away.”
  • Artist's Biography: Wu Guanzhong is one of the most important and innovative artists in 20th century Chinese art for the explorations and contributions he has made by blending the essences of the East and the West through the untiring dialogues he conducted between oil painting and ink painting. Wu was born in Yixing, Jiangsu, in 1919, and went to study in France on a national scholarship in 1946. Upon his return in 1950, he taught at the China Central Academy of Fine Arts in Beijing. In 1991, he was honoured by the French Ministry of Culture with the Officier dans l’ordre des Arts et des Lettres, to be followed in 1992 by the exhibition “Wu Guanzhong: A Twentieth-century Chinese Painter”, or the first ever solo exhibition for a living Chinese artist presented by the British Museum. In 1993, he received a gold medal from the City of Paris to coincide with the exhibition “Encres Récentes de Wu Guanzhong” (“Recent Ink Paintings of Wu Guanzhong”) organized by the Musée Cernuschi, Paris. Back home in China, he was elected a deputy to the National People’s Congress of the People’s Republic of China in 1994, and had a solo exhibition held in his honour by the Ministry of Culture in 1999. In 2002, Wu became the first Chinese national to be named Correspondant by the Academie des Beaux-Arts de I’Institut de France. In 2006, the Beijing Palace Museum ran a feature exhibition in his honour to mark its first collection of a living artist’s works, including the masterpiece, Yangtze River, done by Wu in 1974. That year also saw The Chinese University of Hong Kong conferring an Honorary Doctor of Arts degree to the artist. In 2000, Wu began making generous donations of his masterpieces to public museums both in China and overseas. Even before that, the Hong Kong Museum of Art was privileged to have received two ink paintings from the artist in 1995, to be followed by twelve oil paintings, ink paintings and manuscripts in 2002. In 2009, Wu donated another thirty-three paintings mostly done between 2005 and 2009 to the Museum. Then in 2010, Wu donated five more paintings, including his last works, to the Museum.
  • Type: Ink and colour on paper

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