Show focuses on evolution of painting styles

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An exhibition at Aurora Museum in Shanghai, Masters of Western Art: The Collection of the Rockefeller Art Foundation, is the first showcase by the US institution since it participated in a signing ceremony for major foreign-funded projects organized by the Shanghai municipal government in 2020.

On display are more than 100 works, from the late 1800s to the early 2000s, by five artists-Pablo Picasso, Salvador Dali, Amedeo Modigliani, Giorgio Morandi and Arman (born Armand Pierre Fernandez).

The exhibition, which opened on July 8, will run to Sept 25.

"Impressionists in Western art, such as Claude Monet and Vincent van Gogh, have been extremely popular in China, and we have selected five artists in the periods after impressionism," Huang Shengzhi, director of the Aurora Museum, said at the opening of the exhibition.

"From Picasso, the founder of cubism, to Dali, a pioneer of surrealism, to Modigliani, a postimpressionist, to Morandi, a representative of metaphysical painting, to Arman, a nouveau realism artist who used to disassemble musical instruments to create sculptures, we are presenting the evolution of art from impressionism to modernism."

Some of the paintings, such as The Soft Watch by Dali, Mother and Child from Picasso's blue period (1901-04), and 17 pieces by Modigliani are all on display as lithographic prints.

A set of the Dali Foundation's limited edition Twelve Signs of the Zodiac is also being featured in a specially designed space.

Visitors can find the Still Life series in watercolor by Morandi. Some of Arman's most iconic creations-painting installations made with disassembled musical instruments-are also on show.

"His method and works have influenced many future artists, and shaped the outlook of the contemporary art scene," Huang says. The Rockefeller Art Foundation is a private institution owned by the Rockefeller family, which has through the generations collected hundreds of thousands of artworks and exerted considerable influence in the art world.

The Rockefeller family's presence in China dated back to 1863.

Since the 1980s, the family has been fascinated with Chinese art and promoting Chinese artists and their works abroad.

In 2020, the art foundation joined the pact of major foreign-funded projects initiated by Shanghai, and this marked the institution's presence into China.

According to Xu Xinjie, branding director of the Rockefeller Art Foundation in China, the institution is committed to promoting dialogue between Chinese and Western art.

With the help of Aurora Museum, a private establishment in a high-rise building on the eastern bank of Huangpu River, the art foundation will take Chinese art to global audiences, and open its own art center in Shanghai, she says.

If you go

Masters of Western Art: The Collection of the Rockefeller Art Foundation

July 8-Sept 25, 10 am-5 pm, closed on Monday, 10 am-9 pm on Friday.

Aurora Museum, 99 Fucheng Road, Lujiazui, Pudong district, Shanghai.021-58408899.

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