signed in Chinese and dated in Chinese late autumn 1926
Museum in Autumn depicts a view of the Hyokeikan Gallery of the Tokyo National Art Museum, Japan. The construction of the gallery was initiated in 1900 to celebrate the marriage of Emperor Taisho and was completed in 1908. Designed by Tokuma Katayama, the gallery is a typical example of late Meiji western style architecture and is a national treasure of Japan.
Chen Chengbo went to study at Tokyo Art College in 1924. He was a few years older than most of his fellow students; his maturity was reflected in his attitude to study. His friend Lin Yushan recounted, "Chen Chengbo and I were roommates when we both were at Uenoonshi (the park in which the museum was located). Everyday, in the mornings and afternoons, he went to study at Tokyo Art College and in the evenings, he used to walk for two hours to Hongo Painting Institute to practice drawings. Often we woke up in the morning, there were more new works hanging on the door. Every weekend and holiday, Chengbo would take his canvases to nature and painted on location. All his class-mates admired his persistence and hard-working attitude." Chen lived close to the school, and the park and museum became frequent subjects of his paintings.
Painted in the autumn of 1926, this painting depicts the gallery in the centre flanked by autumn maple trees, carrying a great sense of romanticism of the season. Without knowing the location, one might assume the work depicts an autumn scene in Europe. Based on current research, this painting is the earliest known work by the artist.
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