Date: Qing dynasty, ca. 1730
Album leaf; finger painting in ink on paper
Dimensions: Image: 11 3/4 x 13 3/4 inches (29.8 x 34.9 cm);
Frame: 18 1/2 x 21 1/2 inches (47 x 54.6 cm)
Acquired through the George and Mary Rockwell Fund
Object Number: 75.062.003
A Manchu by birth, Gao Qipei was one of the few foreigners in the Qing period able not only to absorb Chinese culture but to gain a measure of respect from other Chinese painters for his accomplishments. Gao found the new expansive, individualistic style that had emerged around the Jiangnan region in the second half of the seventeenth century especially congenial, and by exploiting a special technique of painting that employed the fingers and fingernails in place of the brush, he won widespread recognition for his highly expressive works of art. This painting of a solitary quail, from an album of bird-and-flower studies after earlier masters, is typical of his finger painting style: in places the finger dipped in ink is evident, in others the sharper, scratchy lines of the fingernail are apparent. The subject of a lone, fretful-looking quail seemingly isolated in a stark environment is one that earlier painters had explored using the traditional brush technique. Under Gao's fingers, the subject seems fresh and charged with a new energy. (From “A Handbook of the Collection: Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art," 1998)
NOTE: This electronic record is compiled from historic documentation which may not reflect the Johnson Museum's complete or current knowledge of the object. Review and refinement of such records is ongoing.