Recently, the Denver Art Museum took viewers to the opulent world of Renaissance Italy. This, after remodeling its extensive collection of Native American art and garnering widespread kudos for its artist-centered — rather than the usual anthropological — approach.
This fall, the DAM will debut two new shows of Chinese art, both organized in-house. The first is a survey of Xu Beihong's paintings; the second, an exhibition of silk clothing and decor from the Qing (or Manchu) dynasty.
Xu Beihong: Pioneer of Modern Chinese Painting reveals many works never before seen in United States, and the first comprehensive Xu show in the country. Xu, born in 1895, did what few Chinese artists of his time could do: study art overseas. He learned to incorporate European techniques and tools (include oil paint) to the Chinese tradition of art, and brought it all back to his home country, where he'd instruct students later on. Considered to be the father of modern Chinese painting, Xu also had many students grow into accomplished and well-recognized artists.
Threads of Heaven: Silken Legacy of China's Last Dynasty features about 100 specimens of elaborate silk garments and hangings. Swatches of exquisite embroidery were worn by members of the imperial family and civil servants, depicting auspicious creatures such as dragons and cranes, of flowers like peonies. The image changed with one’s rank.
The Qing dynasty (which was not technically Chinese in origin, but Manchurian), ended with the dramatic fall of the Emperor Puyi and after years of war and strife, came under the control of the Communists.
For more on these shows and some corresponding programming, read the press release: