Modern and contemporary printmaking in China may be broadly divided into three periods: 1931-49, the Modern Print Movement, wartime and revolution; 1949-76, the Maoist era of socialist construction, through to the Cultural Revolution; and 1976 to the present, marked by China’s rapid domestic and international development. As political and social conditions have changed, so has cultural production. The printmakers in this exhibition have worked in good times and bad, some with careers that began in the 1930s and lasting into the early 21st century. Their determination and revolutionary loyalty are remarkable, evident decade after decade, despite very dire circumstances.
The artists transformed their styles with the times. This section shows works of ten printmakers at different stages of their artistic lives. Eight were essential to the Wars of Resistance and Liberation, while one worked from the 1950s through the 90s. The veterans are best known for their 1930s’ and 40s’ woodcuts. Prints from the Maoist years are harder to find, and as the Muban Educational Trust’s collection is especially rich in these works, more of them are included here Also represented are two versatile, innovative artists of later generations.