Trekked to Sotheby’s where, amid the Chinese paintings and calligraphy, one hanging scroll caught my eye. My best guess is that the variety of line gives this lovely composition a particular energy that draws me to it. That is certainly one of the things that kept me there, reveling in the alternating rhythms of line and brushstroke, ink and space.
When I finally got around to reading the label I discovered that this was by none other than Pu Ru, one of the last scholar artists who lived from 1896-1963. I have seen some of his works in Beijing and in — of all places — Atlanta, in the home of his student, An Ho. Now, An Ho is an amazing artist in her own right, and she has taught me a lot about how to look at Chinese paintings whether sitting on her living room floor as she unfurls one scroll after another or watching her paint, fingers wrapped around the handle of her brush. I’ve had the privilege to write about An Ho three times — in the Wall Street Journal (WSJ/pdf), Internet Art Resources and the Christian Science Monitor. Discovering that it was the work of her teacher that had beckoned to me across the room… priceless. For the auction itself, others will have their MasterCards.