TAO CHENG (ACTIVE LATE 15TH CENTURY) | WILD RABBIT AMONGST BAMBOO AND CHRYSANTHEMUM
- Tao Cheng
- WILD RABBIT AMONGST BAMBOO AND CHRYSANTHEMUM
- ink and color on paper, hanging scroll
- 121.1 by 32.3 cm. 47 5/8 by 12 3/4 in.
This painting belonged to Zhang Daqian. Another work by Tao Cheng is featured in volume 4 of Dafengtang mingji, the catalogue of his collection (no. 26), entitled Bidding Farewell in the Clouds. As evidence of the high regard in which Zhang held Tao, Zhang inscribed on the mounting of latter painting that "...every brush stroke takes directly from Longming [Li Gonglin]... Qiu Shifu was neck-to-neck with him... [Tao's] are to be taken as ordinary paintings." It turned out that Zhang Daqian "in the twelfth lunar month of jiyou (1949) visited New Delhi, India. When I was making the final count of my luggage, Wenbo (Artist's spouse) asked me if we can trade it." In the end Zhang impressed the seal bieshi rongyi and exchanged Bidding Farewell in the Clouds for some money. The painting is now in the collection of the Palace Museum in Beijing. By contrast, he kept Wild Rabbit Amongst Bamboo and Chrysanthemum with him until he met the Chews, to whom he sold it. Since then the painting has remained in North America. Both Tao Cheng works formerly belonging to Zhang Daqian bear impressions of his collector's seals Bufu guren gao houren and Dafengtang zhenwan, as well as impressions of the painter's seals. The one on Bidding Farewell reads Yunhu xianren, and the one on Wild Rabbit reads Yunhu Tao Cheng. The seals are highly consistent in style.
According to the Illustrated Catalogue of Selected Works of Ancient Chinese Paintings and Calligraphy, aside from Bidding Farewell, the Palace Museum also holds another Tao Cheng painting, entitled Moon and Rabbit and also bearing the seal Yunhu Tao Cheng. This authenticates the seal on Wild Rabbit. The Shanghai Museum holds a Tao Cheng painting of White Rabbit Amongst Bamboo and Chrysanthemum, which is on silk and whose dimensions are not published. The Cleveland Museum holds the scroll Two Sketches from Life by Tao Yunhu, which was in the collection of Zhang Heng. The chrysanthemum in this work is painted in a more expressionistic manner than in Wild Rabbit, but the brushwork is extremely close. Another similarity is that in both works Tao uses dark ink in the leaves and stems to contrast the light ink of the chrysanthemum's leaves.