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Watercolor specialist Liu Shouxiang dies from viral infection

By LIN QI | China Daily | Updated: 2020-02-20 07:10

Old House, a painting by Liu, now in the collection of Hubei Museum of Art. [Photo provided to China Daily]

While many of his peers adopted oil painting and sculpture, Liu persisted with watercolors, viewed as a relatively peripheral medium in the country's art world.

Liu's way of shading colors achieved the same depth and diversity in scale as seen in many oil paintings. His pieces, whether landscape or still life, deliver poetic elegance to arrest the eyes of both professionals and laymen alike.

Fan Feng, director of Wuhan Art Museum, says that, with their smart arrangement of space and shapes, Liu's paintings are "full of motion and a sense of rhythm" and that Liu "paid great attention to nuances and expressed in his artworks that all things on Earth possess a sensibility and a beauty of their own".

Liu was also remembered as a dedicated educator. He established the watercolor department at the Hubei Institute of Fine Arts, where he taught until his retirement in 2018. His students became independent artists and school teachers.

He often told his students that "only one who is respectable can create sublime work", according to Fan.

Liu liked to listen to music while painting.

Yu Xiaoping, a close friend of Liu and a sculptor based in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, says the late artist had committed himself to promoting watercolor art even when his career choice didn't win him much support in the 1990s.

"Five years ago, when I was sick, he came to see me and gave me a painting that depicts a dried tree standing in a vigorous manner on an extensive piece of land. He encouraged me by saying, 'Still there are miracles. Do believe.' Today there is nothing I can do for him. I can only say that we will never forget him," Yu says.

Wuhan is an important art hub in central China. Many graduates of the Hubei Institute of Fine Arts have become celebrated figures on the country's contemporary art scene, including Zeng Fanzhi, who donated one million yuan ($143,000) to his alma mater on Feb 13. He also donated 500,000 yuan each to the Jinyintan Hospital and Wuhan Union Hospital, where patients infected with the new coronavirus disease are being treated.

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