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Zhengming Wen (1470-1559)

Aliases: Cheng-chung; Chêng-ming; Chên-hsien; Hêng-s han; T'ing-yün; Cheng-ming Wen; Wên Chêng-ming; Wên Pi; Wen Zhengming; Wen Zhengming

Professions: Painter; Calligrapher

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  • WEN ZHENGMING (1470-1559)

  • WEN ZHENGMING (1470-1559)

  • WEN ZHENGMING (1470-1559)

  • Wen Zhengming 1470-1559 , PLUM BLOSSOM AND BAMBOO; POEMS IN XINGSHU ink on sutra paper, handscroll

Zhengming Wen Biography

(b Changzhou, Juangsu Province, China, 1470; d Suzhou, China, 1559) Chinese Painter and Calligrapher. Raised in the literati circles of Suzhou, [Wen Zhengming] prepared for a career as an official. In 1522, after failing the civil service examination for the tenth time, Wen Zhengming was recommended to a position in the court in Beijing. From 1523 to 1526, he served as an attendant in the Hanlin Academy, but was not content with life in the capital, and returned to Suzhou in 1527. He built an elegant retreat in Suzhou, where he spent the rest of his life as a true literati, holding scholarly gatherings with the men of his circle, composing poetry, and painting and writing calligraphy for his own pleasure and for his many admirers. In his early years, Wen Zhengming studied literature with Wu Kuan and Zhu Yunming, calligraphy with Li Yizhen, and painting with Shen Zhou. After returning to Suzhou, Wen Zhengming continued to study the work of the old masters, and fused elements of their work into his own to create his expressive, mature style. (Credit: Christie’s, New York, Important Classical Chinese Paintings, November 28, 1990, lot 14)

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