To paint figures one must study drawing the human body, do quick sketches. To
paint scenery one must go outdoors to sketch; to paint birds, flowers, insects, and
fish, one must also sketch. Of humans, of nature, all require deeper observation.
Author: Christine I. Ho
Drawing from Life explores revolutionary drawing and sketching in the early People's Republic of China (1949-1965) in order to discover how artists created a national form of socialist realism. Tracing the development of seminal works by the major painters Xu Beihong, Wang Shikuo, Li Keran, Li Xiongcai, Dong Xiwen, and Fu Baoshi, author Christine I. Ho reconstructs how artists grappled with the representational politics of a nascent socialist art. The divergent approaches, styles, and genres presented in this study reveal an art world that is both heterogeneous and cosmopolitan. Through a history of artistic practices in pursuit of Maoist cultural ambitions--to forge new registers of experience, new structures of feeling, and new aesthetic communities--this original book argues that socialist Chinese art presents a critical, alternative vision for global modernism.