Georgette Chen Liying

Cityscape of Beijing

1906-1992 Singapore

The Forbidden City imperial palace in Beijing remains even today a magnificent structure, and a symbol of China. This piece depicts a view within the Forbidden City, crossing the Golden Water Bridge to the north (inner) side of the Meridian Gate. The Meridian Gate is the most important gateway, being part of a wall that completely surrounds the palace. The space within is that of the emperor's living quarters and administration. As a symbolic gateway, it has often been the subject of art work. However, pieces such as this that show a view from inside the gate, are rare. Unconstrained by the conventional values of an artist raised in Paris, Georgette Chen Liying work offers a glimpse of a free and modern touch. The lower part of the Meridian Gate can be seen in a noticeable state of disrepair, as if hinting at the decline and collapse of the imperial dynasty itself. This work is presumed to be a piece reproduced for an exhibition in Singapore in 1953, and thus an identical piece exists. The paintings are excellent examples of the artist's early period, showing elegant flowing lines and refined use of color. (RT)

Work description

Title Cityscape of Beijing
Name of the Artist Georgette Chen Liying
Year c.1950
Medium oil on canvas
Size 92.8×73.5 cm