Inscription: This is the seventh version of this painting, made in early winter of the Xinwei year (1931). In memory of Lian Nanhu. Beihong was teaching at National Central University and living on Phoenix Street.
eal: “Xu Beihong” (Square seal with incised characters) and “Ordinary man from Jiangnan” (Square seal with relief characters)
Xu Beihong saw himself as someone who could always identify hidden talent, something of a Bo Le who could save the world. He hoped that his own wonderful talents would be recognized and utilized by even greater masters. The former role was something he could master, but the latter was a desire that could not always be realized, so he often lamented that “there are no men like Bo Le in the world.” During this time, he made seven versions of this work, revealing his emotions. Made in 1931 and currently held in the Xu Beihong Memorial Hall, this ink version of Jiu Fanggao is the most mature, most important, and most emotionally expressive of these works.
-Hua Tianxue, Xu Beihong’s Reforms of Chinese Painting
As Ai Zhongxin recalled, Xu Beihong once derisively pointed out the roughneck behind Jiu Fanggao. This person could not really tell whether a horse was good or bad, but he assumes that laughable position. This figure highlights Jiu Fanggao’s calm, which is needed for the composition. At a time of political instability, this work satirizes those in power who cannot recognize talent, expressing the artist’s concerns and hopes for the fate of his country.


  • Title: Jiu Fanggao
  • Creator: Xu Beihong
  • Date Created: 1931
  • Physical Dimensions: h 139, w 351 cm
  • Support: Paper

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