The Hefner Collection
Previous Artist return to index Next Artist

Luo Zhongli
Luo Zhongli  (1948 —         )
Luo Zhongli was born in Chongqing in 1948. He graduated from the Oil Painting Department of the Sichuan Academy of Fine Arts in 1982 and remained there for one year as an instructor. From 1983 to 1986 he studied at Antwerpen Royal Fine Art College, Belgium where he obtained a M.A. degree. His much reviewed painting "Father" won first prize in the Second National Youth Fine Art Exhibition, Beijing in 1982 and became a part of the collection of the National Art Museum of China, Beijing. Luo Zhongli has had one-man exhibitions of his work in Belgium, Paris, Hong Kong, Taiwan, at Harvard University and in Chicago. He is currently Director of the Sichuan Academy of Fine Arts, Chongqing as well as a member of the Standing Council of the Chinese Artists' Association.


 

  • Spring Silkworms, 1980
    Oil on Canvas
    93" x 56" (236cm x 142cm)

    About this work

    Luo Zhongli has said about his painting "Spring Silkworms" that the subject was very close to him because he had worked on a silkworm farm and remembered the experience in great detail. "I read a poem that said, 'like a candle that burns bright until it is burned up, the silkworm never dies until the last of its silk is given out.' So, I used a symbolic language in creating this painting. The grandmother's hair resembles the silk she is harvesting and, like the worm, she will work all her life until she can work no more and then she will die." While Luo Zhongli has painted the figure of the grandmother in shadow, the delicacy of the strands of her hair are brilliantly lit, almost as if in spotlight and her bent head serves as a focal point. The viewer cannot see her face, but the detail in her aged hands is exceptional as are the creases in her dress. The bright contrast of the green leaf from which she has pulled a silkworm becomes a secondary focal point, balancing this monumental work.    

  • Sketch for Spring Silkworms, 1980
    Charcoal on Paper
    20" x 16" (51cm x 40 1/2cm)

    About this work

    Luo Zhongli says that the reason he chooses to paint peasants as his main subjects is because his family was from the country and he grew up there and they are the people he knows. In researching subjects for his paintings, Luo Zhongli often travels back to his homeland in the Zomba mountains to sketch the faces of the people he grew up with. "Spring Silkworms" was the result of detailed drawings he did of both the complete figure and hands of this "grandmother" he says he knew quite well.  

  • Sketch for Spring Silkworms, 1980
    Charcoal on Paper
    16" x 14" (41cm x 35 1/2cm)

    About this work

    Luo Zhongli says that the reason he chooses to paint peasants as his main subjects is because his family was from the country and he grew up there and they are the people he knows. In researching subjects for his paintings, Luo Zhongli often travels back to his homeland in the Zomba mountains to sketch the faces of the people he grew up with. "Spring Silkworms" was the result of detailed drawings he did of both the complete figure and hands of this "grandmother" he says he knew quite well.  

  • Smoking Old Man, 1980
    Oil on Canvas
    9" x 7 7/8" (23cm x 20cm)

    About this work

    The subject of this painting was a man Luo Zhongli says he spent a lot of time with sketching and painting in the village where he grew up. Field studies like this become research for paintings Luo Zhongli produces later. Often, many studies will be used for a completed painting, although, as in the case of this particular study, he says he likes the small pieces better than the larger canvases he completes.   

  • Father II, 1982
    Oil on Canvas
    105" x 64" (227cm x 162 1/2cm)

    About this work

    Luo Zhongli is perhaps best known for a trilogy of large paintings that began when he created "Father" in 1980. It won first prize in the Second National Youth Fine Art Exhibition, Beijing in 1982 and became a part of the collection of the National Art Museum of China. It was followed in 1980 by "Spring Silkworms" and in 1982 by "Father II". Luo Zhongli says about the paintings, "During the Cultural Revolution I was required to paint a lot of political pictures in a large heroic size including many portraits of Mao. After the Cultural Revolution, I wanted to create works that would summarize how I felt about the peasants I grew up with in the country. I wanted to make monumental works honoring them." Luo Zhongli's 'Father' paintings have become icons in the contemporary Chinese art world. The only time they were ever exhibited together, however, was in 1987 when Robert Hefner included them along with "Spring Silkworms" in his Harkness House exhibition of Chinese oil paintings in New York.    

  • Sketch for Father II, 1982
    Charcoal on Paper
    20" x 16" (51cm x 40 1/2cm)

    About this work

    In researching subjects for his paintings, Luo Zhongli often travels back to his homeland in the Zomba mountains to sketch the faces of the people he grew up with. "Father II" was the result of several detailed sketches he did of two different subjects. In this final compilation drawing, the artist has arrived at exactly what he wants the portrait to look like. Given the painting's large size (105" x 64 3/4") the artist has drawn the work first, using a grid to estimate how large it will be when it is 'sized up' on the canvas. Each square represents approximately one square foot of the completed painting. Mural painters use this scaling device to maintain accuracy from drawing to finished work.  

  • Sketches for Father II, 1982
    Charcoal on Paper
    26" x 29" (66cm x 73 1/2cm)

    About this work

    In researching subjects for his paintings, Luo Zhongli often travels back to his homeland in the Zomba mountains to sketch the faces of the people he grew up with. "Father II" was the result of several detailed sketches he did of two different subjects.  

  • Peasant Man, 1982
    Charcoal on Paper
    21 1/2" x 16 1/2" (54 1/2cm x 42cm)

    About this work

    In researching subjects for his paintings, Luo Zhongli often travels back to his homeland in the Zomba mountains to sketch the faces of the people he grew up with. "Father II" was the result of several detailed sketches he did of two different subjects.  

  • Early Spring Sunlight, 1993
    Oil on Canvas
    24" x 31 7/8" (61cm x 81cm)

    About this work

    All of Luo Zhongli's subjects for his paintings come from the land and the people he grew up with in Sichuan. This portrait of a young girl watching over a pair of horses depicts a snowy, isolated landscape on a brightly lit day. The monochromatic color palette of blues and whites adds to the feeling that it is cold; the horses huddle together for warmth even in the sunlight. The strong shadows cast on the girl's back give the scene perspective and depth. The style in which this piece was painted falls between Luo Zhongli's early 1980's and post-1990s work.    

  • Untitled, 2000
    Oil on Paper
    19 1/2" x 15 1/2" (46 1/2 cm x 39cm)

    About this work

    Over the course of a career, a painter may change styles several times. There are, of course, no rules for creativity so it is different for each artist. The style reflected in this painting by Luo Zhongli is one that has evolved over twenty years of study and experimentation. It has been compared to Van Gogh's form of painting, but in truth the process by which Luo Zhongli arrives at his completed canvases is far more complex than that of Van Gogh. What the viewer sees is bright color and heavy form. What one cannot see, however, is the way in which the artist develops his composition through a series of layers; first sketching in the painting in black, then outlining in white, and finally, adding masses of color while carefully allowing the underpainting to show through. Luo Zhongli's paintings always involve interpretations of the daily life of the peasants that he grew up with in the fields and mountains of Sichuan province. They are close to his heart, and like Van Gogh, Luo Zhongli is an artist 'of the people.'    

  • Untitled, 2001
    Oil on Paper
    21 1/2" x 15 1/2" (55cm x 39cm)

    About this work

    Over the course of a career, a painter may change styles several times. There are, of course, no rules for creativity so it is different for each artist. The style reflected in this painting by Luo Zhongli is one that has evolved over twenty years of study and experimentation. It has been compared to Van Gogh's form of painting, but in truth the process by which Luo Zhongli arrives at his completed canvases is far more complex than that of Van Gogh. What the viewer sees is bright color and heavy form. What one cannot see, however, is the way in which the artist develops his composition through a series of layers; first sketching in the painting in black, then outlining in white, and finally, adding masses of color while carefully allowing the underpainting to show through. Luo Zhongli's paintings always involve interpretations of the daily life of the peasants that he grew up with in the fields and mountains of Sichuan province. They are close to his heart, and like Van Gogh, Luo Zhongli is an artist 'of the people.'    

     
Previous Artist return to index Next Artist
 

 

Home  |  Hefner Collection  |  History

News  |  Contact Us  |  Links  |  Site Map

© Copyright 2017, Robert & MeiLi Hefner Collection
Legal | Privacy Policy