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Spotlight on master of modern calligraphy

(Shanghai Daily)

14:58, July 05, 2013

One of the modern masters of cursive calligraphy, Yu Youren, was a scholar, educator and member of government who moved to Taiwan in 1949 when he was 71 years old.

Yu's works in cursive and semi-cursive are intensely animated and coveted by collectors. He is also famous for his published works on calligraphy, but for many years he was ignored on the Chinese mainland and his works were rarely seen.

A rare work of calligraphy by Yu (1879-1964) will be auctioned Sunday at the Portman Ritz-Carlton by Hosane Auction.

It is a highlight among 400 old and modern traditional ink-wash paintings and calligraphy to be sold. It is a poem by Lu You (1125-1210 ) hoping for a peaceful life when the country was in wars.

Born in 1879 in Sanyuan County, Shaanxi Province, he was an early revolutionary who sought to overthrow the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) and wrote satiric poetry collected in the book titled "Poetry Drafts From the Hall of Tears and Mockery."

He was branded a revolutionary and fled to Shanghai where he lived under an assumed name and entered Aurora Academy. He fled to Japan in 1906 and met Dr Sun Yat-sen, who would become the president of the Republic of China. After returning to China he started several newspapers attacking government corruption and was jailed twice.

In 1912 he became deputy minister of transport and communication but was forced to resign with Sun's government. He again became a wanted man.

In 1922 he returned to Shanghai and helped establish Shanghai University along with Ye Chucang, and became its president. In 1927 Yu became a standing committee member of the Nationalist government.

In 1936, Yu collected examples of Chinese characters and compiled them into the "Thousand Character Essay on Standard Cursive Script," the first definitive work.

Today his works are coveted for their great beauty and Yu's status in modern Chinese history and culture.


Date: Today-July 7, 9am-6pm


Date: July 8, 9am

Address: Portman Ritz Carlton, 1376 Nanjing Rd W.

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