When it comes to the development of Chinese contemporary art, perhaps one residence stands out more than any other - Beijing's No. 2A Dayabao Hutong. Quite a number of well-known 20th-century artists resided there for a certain period of time. And now a special exhibition in the Chinese capital is showcasing their artworks and explaining their connection with the courtyard.
The paintings on display belong to some of China's most renowned contemporary artists, like Li Kuchan, Li Keran and Zhang Ding. But they have a much more subtle connection than just their creative artistic flair - they all once resided at Beijing's No. 2A Dayabao Hutong.
It's quite amazing that one courtyard could play host to so many influential artists almost in the same period. The anomaly is credited to one important figure in Chinese art history.
"In 1946, Xu Beihong reorganized National Beiping Art School and purchased a staff quarter at No. 2A Dayabao Hutong,” said the curator Wu Hongliang, “Since then, it became an important historical site witnessing the development of Chinese art in the 20th century.”
The residence was essentially a dormitory for these art enthusiasts. More than 30 teachers and students from the Central Academy of Fine Arts lived there. Many of them went on to become artists of their time. Having lived in the same neighborhood, they are also thought to have shared a quite important common cause.
"The most important generality of these 20th-century artists is that they all had a sense of responsibility towards the development of the country. So in this exhibition, we have a special segment displaying some of their most important contributions, like the design of the national flag, the national emblem and the Monument to the People's Heroes,” said Wu.
The No.2A Dayabao Hutong exhibition runs until January 23 at Beijing's Guardian Art Center.
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