Yu’s flower and bird painting derived from the traditions of the painting academies of the Song dynasty. For more than thirty years, Yu devoted himself to adding personal innovation to this tradition, making his works elegant and decorative while maintaining the spiritual quality of ink and brush. For Yu, the meticulous style and the more abstract and spiritual quality of literati painting are blended to some degree.
Yu Zhonglin was a native of Shantung Province. His youth happened in a time when the country was at war. Yu served in the army and had no time for a formal education; still the thought for the art of painting lingered in his mind. His desire for picture drawing dates back to his childhood when his maternal uncle, Hsu Chung-Hai, taught him to read and recite. His uncle, so pleased with his unusual talent, guided Yu in the right directions.
Leaving the Shantung Province to settle in Taiwan, Yu always found pleasure in painting when he had leisure time. It was his talent and diligence that gained him recognition by Professor King Chin-Po. He studied from Professor King learning how to paint flowers and birds in an “elaborate” style. The impressionistic style was in fashion at the time, and Yu distinguished himself in his preference to the “elaborate” drawing style. To Yu, The Imperial Academy Paintings of the Sung Dynasty excelled in the painting of nature, though the style was in decline. Yu meant to revive the style. All the flowers and birds he painted appeared vivid, as if fluttering or flying. Since all his creations as wonderful and natural, Yu is widely recognised as a master in painting nature.
Elegance and Grace: A Memorial Exhibition of Flower and Bird Paintings by Yu Zhonglin National Museum of History (Taiwan)
Painting in meticulous style demands great time and effort. In our fast-paced modern society, this type of painting is slowly fading. To promote all traditions of Chinese art, the National Museum of History invited Yu to lecture and demonstrate this type of painting, which attracted lots of listeners. Now, on the occasion of the 88th anniversary of Yu’s birth, we invite Yu’s family to present about a hundred of his works spanning different periods to show Yu’s diverse talents and celebrate his artistic achievement. We would like to express our appreciation to Yu’s family and we wish this exhibition every success.