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Photo credit: Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art, Cornell University

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Title: Mao's Children
Date: 1965
Medium: Oil on canvas
Dimensions: Canvas: 32 1/2 × 33 1/2 inches (82.6 × 85.1 cm) Framed: 37 × 38 inches (94 × 96.5 cm)
Credit Line: Gift of Andrew Byong-Soo Kim, MBA 1963, and Wan Kyun Rha Kim
Object Number: 2004.038.001
Label Text: With the founding of the People's Republic of China in 1949, China's European-trained realist painters were assigned to create a new art for the new nation, for the purpose of serving the masses. At first the Socialist Realist style focused on heroic depictions of the nation's leaders, but after widespread famine in the late 1950s, a shift in subject matter occurred, and artists began to glorify ordinary people.

Xu Wenhua's work typifies the trend in oil painting in the mid-1960s, showing enthusiasm for the cult of Mao Zedong that would fuel the Cultural Revolution. Xu also gained fame for his political poster designs. From 1979 to 1985 he taught art at the Shanghai Light Industrial Design Institute. In 1986 he moved to New York.

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.