Waiting for the Ferry

Michael Sullivan (1916-2013) started preparing a book on 20th century Chinese art after his sojourn in China in the 1940s. When all the research notes he had gathered in China went missing, Pang Xunqin (1906-1985), one of his artist friends, went to enormous trouble to provide him with essential information on Chinese art by soliciting his friends’ help. One result of Pang’s appeal was this exquisite landscape by Huang Binhong (1865-1955). It was sent to Michael in 1948 un-mounted, folded up very small, in an airmail letter from Shanghai.

Huang Binhong was a leading figure in the revived Anhui School of landscape painting and had enormous influence on younger guohua ink painters. This painting was done in the early 1930s when the artist was on a sketching tour of the Sichuan province. The inscription reads ‘Waiting for the ferry in the shade of pine trees. A scene during my journey in Sichuan.’ Huang may have chosen this painting to give to Michael because he knew that the Sullivan’s had lived in the Sichuan province.


  • Catalogue text

    Guohua painter, connoisseur and editor. He grew up in Anhui where he studied at home with a private tutor. An active member of societies connected with painting, calligraphy and seal-engraving in Shanghai. Professor at the Xinhua Academy, Shanghai and, after a stay in Beijing, Professor in the Hangzhou Academy whence he sent us the small landscape. The dominant figure in the revived Anhui School of landscape painting, his influence on younger guohua painters was enormous.

    Sent by airmail, unmounted and folded up small, to Khoan and Michael Sullivan in London in 1948 or early 1949. A perfect little example of the style of this artist's best period. Perhaps he chose this subject because he had heard that we had been living in Sichuan.

    In: Sullivan, Michael, Modern Chinese Art: The Khoan and Michael Sullivan Collection, revised edn (Oxford: Ashmolean Museum, 2009)

Further reading

Sullivan, Michael, Modern Chinese Art: The Khoan and Michael Sullivan Collection, revised edn (Oxford: Ashmolean Museum, 2009), no. 53 on p. 88, illus. p. 88 fig. II.53

Reference URL

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