Wu Changshuo


Artist: Wu Changshuo
Title: Maple Tree and Rock
Medium: Watercolor
Ground: Paper
Size: 138.6 x 34 cm
Year: 1921
Signature: high right
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Artist Biography:

Wu Changshuo was a prominent painter, calligrapher and seal artist of the late Qing Period.  Wu was born into a scholarly family in Huzhou, Zhejiang.  In his twenties, Wu moved to Jiangsu Province and settled down in Suzhou.  Prior to the collapse of the Great Qing, he served as an imperial official in Liaoning.

Initially, he devoted himself to poetry and calligraphy with a strong interest in early scripts.  He also led the Xiling Society of the Seal Art, an academic organization for Hangzhou-based seal artists.  Only later did he consider himself a painter associated with the “Shanghai school.”

As a painter, he was noted for helping to rejuvenate the art of painting flowers and birds.  Wu Changshuo’s favorite subjects were colorful abstract images of flowers and rocks.  His work is not a literal depiction from nature, but an arrangement that playfully emphasizes his skillful use of bold calligraphic brushwork against blank space.  He considered carving seals and doing paintings to be integrated to each other.

His works were highly sought after by the new Shanghai urban elite.  His work garnered him fame and was highly regarded in Japan.