Metamorphosis: Liu Dan’s Fantastic Landscape and the Renaissance


17 East 76th Street, New York

September 13 – November 23, 2018

Liu Dan 
Nanjing, China 1953 - 

Perceiving the Seven Pillars of Wisdom

Ink on rice paper 
114 x 365 cm. 
(Painted by Liu Dan of Jinling [Nanjing])

Martin Schongauer 
Colmar ca. 1435/50–1491 Breisach

The Road to Calvary – Christ Carrying the Cross
ca. 1475–80

288 x 430 mm.

Metamorphosis: Liu Dan’s Fantastic Landscape and the Renaissance
17 East 76th Street, New York

September 13 - November 23, 2018

Nicholas Hall is delighted to announce the exhibition Metamorphosis: Liu Dan’s Fantastic Landscape and the Renaissance, which will take place at the gallery on 17 East 76th street. In this exhibition, Liu Dan will present a major landscape painting inspired by the Renaissance German artist Martin Schongaeur’s iconic print Christ Carrying the Cross alongside the original print, as well as a small selection of Old Master works on paper from the Renaissance onward by Parmigianino, Perino del Vaga, and Il Guercino among others. This is his first exhibition with the gallery and the first of its kind in New York to present Liu Dan’s painting in the context of its original European point of reference.

Liu Dan is among the most original and significant living artists in China. While working with the triad of ink, paper, and brush – the one constant in an otherwise highly diversified tradition for Chinese ink paintings in the past centuries – Liu Dan has pioneered an idiosyncratic idiom in the contemporary practice of ink that redefines the boundaries of the convention.

The painting on view is extremely rare in Liu Dan’s small oeuvre for its direct reference to a specific Old Master picture. Derived from Schongauer’s multi-figural composition, it is executed with utmost technical finesse and alludes to traditional Chinese landscapes. Replete with illusionistic details, the painting takes on an abstract quality. It demonstrates the artist’s profound knowledge of Classical Chinese paintings as well as an enlightened appreciation of the European Old Masters. The exhibition will be an extraordinary opportunity to experience Liu Dan’s work withthe European historical sources that have been absorbed into the worldly and timeless vision of the artist. On occasion of the exhibition, a catalogue will be published by the gallery, which will include new scholarship by thedistinguished art historian Robert E. Harrist, Jr., Jane and Leopold Swergold Professor of Chinese Art History at Columbia University.

Liu Dan  劉丹

Liu Dan is among the most original and respected living artists in China. Born in Nanjing, Liu Dan studied at Jiangsu Academy of Traditional Painting between 1978 and 1981. He lived in the U.S. for almost 25 years before moving back to China in 2005. Liu Dan currently lives and works in Beijing.


Selected Recent Museum Exhibitions

Art and China after 1989: Theater of the World, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, NY

Ink Unbound: Paintings by Liu Dan, Minneapolis Institute of Art, Minneapolis, MN
Liu Dan: New Landscapes and Old Masters, Ashmolean Museum of Art and Archeology, Oxford, UK 

The Union of the Mind and the Dao: Art Works by Liu Dan, Suzhou Museum, Suzhou, China
Ink Art: Past as Present in Contemporary China, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY

Modern Chinese Ink Paintings, British Museum, London, UK
Rochers de Lettrés, Itinéraires de l’Art en Chine, Musée Guimét, Paris, France
Why Not Ink?, Today Art Museum, Beijing, China 

The Art of Writing: Contemporary Art from Three Cultures, Artforum in der Kurhaus Kolonnade, Wiesbaden, Germany

Fresh Ink: Ten Takes on Chinese Tradition, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA

Outside In: Chinese x American x Contemporary Art, Princeton University Art Museum, Princeton, NJ

Made in China: Works from the Estella Collection, Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Humlebaek, Denmark

Shu: Reinventing Books in Contemporary Chinese Art, China Institute, New York, NY
The New Chinese Landscape: Recent Acquisitions, Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA 

Über Schönheit, Museum für Ostasiatische Kunst, Berlin, Germany


Selected Public Collections

The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, New York, NY
Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, UK
Arthur M. Sackler Museum of the Harvard University Art Museums, Cambridge, MA
Brooklyn Museum, Brooklyn, New York, NY
British Museum, London, UK
The Honolulu Academy of Art, Honolulu, HI
The Contemporary Museum, Honolulu, HI
Minneapolis Institute of Art, Minneapolis, MN
Musée Guimét, Paris, France
San Diego Museum of Art, San Diego, CA

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