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October 31 2012

Ancient Art Tells China’s Modern Tale


AMSTERDAM — For the first half of his career, the artist Qiu Deshu largely rode the seismic shifts of Chinese history.

Mr. Qiu, who was born in Shanghai in 1948, studied traditional Chinese arts, including seal carving, scroll mounting and ink painting, along with Western oil painting. As a teenager in the 1960s, he worked as an artist for the Red Guard, creating propaganda for the Cultural Revolution. In the 1970s, while working in a plastics factory, he gained status as an important “worker-painter.” After the Cultural Revolution, he became the leader of the artists collective Cao Cao Hua She, the Grass Painting Society, to plant new seeds of expression on what he thought was finally terra firma.

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