The above information was edited by Felicity Fei-Hsien CHIU.（邱斐顯）
The Age of Elegance－－A continuous and elegant composition of Kuo Hsueh-Hu in the passage of time （時代的優雅－－郭雪湖百歲回顧展）
A note on Kuo Hsueh-Hu（郭雪湖）
Kuo Hsueh-Hu was born in 1908 in the Dadaocheng（大稻埕）area of Taipei. Acknowledged as a major pioneer of the modern art movement in Taiwan , Kuo is a nationally renowned artist whose influence has extended into a second century. When he was a mere 20-year-old artist, Kuo’s works were selected for the first Taiwan Art Exhibition. He was known together with Lin Yu-Shan （林玉山）and Chen Jin（陳進） as the “Three Youths of Taiwan Art Exhibitions”. In 1928, Kuo was awarded the Special Selection Prize in the second Taiwan Art Exhibition with his gouache painting entitled, “Scenery near Yuan Shan”（圓山附近）. Indeed, he won the award several times in a row. Subsequent awards included the Taiwan Exhibition Prize, the Taiwan-Japan Prize and the Asahi Prize. By virtue of his accomplishments, Kuo was one of a few Taiwanese artists to be granted direct-entry status for exhibitions in Japan .
Taipei North Gate in Early Age
This year marks the hundredth birthday anniversary of the venerable master.
On January 22nd, 2008, Kuo was recognized with the 27th National Cultural Award, Taiwan ’s top cultural honor recognizing individuals who have made special contributions to the preservation and promotion of Taiwan ’s diverse culture.
Centenarian Master Kuo Hsueh-Hu, acknowledged as a major pioneer of the modern art movement in Taiwan , is a nationally renowned artist whose influence has extended into a new century.
Master Kuo has dedicated his life to artistic creation, and, to date, has many other accomplishments. His remarkable artistic achievements are the result of his talent and hard work.
Grand Canyon Landscape
Kuo is one of the first-generation gouache painters in Taiwan . His artworks involved bold experimentations that incorporated the concepts of traditional Chinese ink painting with elements of eastern painting (Toyoga). He was credited with the use of heavy color rendering with light ink to create outlines. At a relatively young age, Kuo managed to widen the scope of gouache painting, bringing it into a broader and more diverse form through the use of Western styles and expressive techniques.
On 24th January 2008, Master Kuo was presented with the prestigious“27th Executive Yuan Culture Award,”as a tribute to of his lifelong contributions to the promotion and advancement of arts and culture. The presentation ceremony was held at Taipei 101, which was a great way to celebrate Master Kuo's 100th birthday.
Colorful boats on the river
“The Age of Elegance: a Centennial Exhibition of Kuo Hsueh-Hu” is organized and held by the National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts to honor Master Kuo's contributions to Taiwan's art community, and to more widely promote his magnificent achievements. This centennial exhibition consists of a total of 101 of Master Kuo's artworks, complemented by his sketches, photographic records and news articles.
Birds at the ponds
It is hoped that this display will allow visitors to gain a better understanding of a great master's artistic journey, and especially to gain an insight into how the master carried forth the traditional culture he inherited into his continuous creation of beautiful melodies throughout his artistic career that spanned a century.
Snow on the mountains
Kuo Hsueh-Hu’s early studies in painting
Kuo Hsueh-Hu, originally named Kuo Jin-Huo, was born on April 10, 1908 in the Dadaocheng（大稻埕）area of Taipei. Kuo displayed a keen interest in both singing and painting at a very young age. As a student at the Second Public School of Dadaocheng (renamed “Ze-Hsin” Public School in 1922, and “Ze-Hsin” Elementary School in 1945), his talents were discovered by both his music and art teachers. After careful consideration, Kuo chose painting as his life-long career.
Morning mist around rivers and mountains
In 1920, when he was a student at the Second Public School of Dadaocheng (today's Ze-Hsin Elementary School), his talent was discovered by one of his teachers, Chen Ying-Sheng（陳英聲）, who taught him the basics of painting from life, and coached him to copy the paintings of great masters.
At the age of 16, Kuo entered the painting studio of the famous north-Taiwan painter Tsai Hsueu-His（蔡雪溪）to learn the basic concepts and techniques of painting and mounting.
During the Japanese colonial era, Dadaocheng, beside the Tamshui River , was a beautiful pastoral area. Although it was not that eye-catching, it holds warm memories for Kuo Hsueh-Hu of the early years of his life. Moreover, it was the source of inspiration for his later creations. Through his elegant paintings, people can see a different era devoid of the noise of the city, as the purity of the land and his love for it is evident in every detail of his work.
Snow in the forest
First award at the age of 20
In 1927, Kuo’s works were selected for the first Taiwan Art Exhibition. He and two other young artists, Lin Yu-Shan （林玉山, 1907 - 2004）and Chen Jin（陳進, 1907 - 1998）, were known as the“Three Youths of Taiwan Art Exhibitions”.
In 1928, Kuo was awarded the Special Prize in the second Taiwan Art Exhibition for his gouache painting entitled“Scenery near Yuan Shan”. Indeed, his artworks were awarded Special Selection prizes in the Taiwan Art Exhibition several years in a row. Subsequent awards included the Taiwan Exhibition prize, the Taiwan-Japan Prize and the Asahi Prize. By virtue of his accomplishments, Kuo was one of the few Taiwanese artists to be granted direct-entry status for exhibitions in Japan .
Master Kuo's early works displayed a Taiwanese native style. His paintings, characterized by the traditional use of Chinese water based materials and ink techniques as well as warm and mild colors, illustrate his acute observation and refined methods of expression.
Traveling experience broadened Kuo’s artistic horizons
In 1929, Kuo was introduced to Kuohara Kotou by poet Wang Shao-Tao（王少濤）, and became deeply influenced by Kuohara's artistic ideals and styles. In 1931, a trip to Japan allowed Kuo to further understand the artistic characteristics of Japanese paintings, and to further explore the possibility of innovation.
Since 1950, Kuo has traveled extensively to Japan , China , the Philippines , Thailand , Hong Kong , India , the U.S. and Europe in order to broaden his artistic horizons.
Spring in the garden Lai
In 1964, Kuo moved to Japan to engage in fieldwork. In the summer of 1978, he immigrated to California , and continued to practice his art in the United States .
However, Kuo never cut his ties with the Taiwanese art community, as he frequently returns to Taiwan for sketching sessions, exhibitions and other artistic events.
In fact, living in Japan and the U.S. has given him a burning desire to stay in touch with his roots, and to create more works on themes related to Taiwan 's natural scenery.
Photo courtesy of National Museum of History and National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts
The above information was edited by Felicity Fei-Hsien CHIU.（邱斐顯）