The Painter's Practice: How Artists Lived and Worked in Traditional China

Overview

In The Painter's Practice, James Cahill reveals the intricacies of the painter's life with respect to payment and patronage - an approach that is still largely absent from the study of East Asian art. Drawing upon such unofficial archival sources as diaries and letters, Cahill challenges the traditional image of the disinterested amateur scholar-artist, unconcerned with material rewards, that has been developed by China's literati, perpetuated in conventional biographies, and abetted by the artists themselves. ...
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New York 1994 First Edition First Edition. Quarto; VG/VG; Multicolored spine with blue and brown lettering; Jacket is clean with some light bumping to the jacket at the spine ... head; Boards are straight and strong, spine is bumped; Binding is tight; Text block is clean; 187 pp. Read more Show Less

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1994 Cloth Fine Condition in Near Fine jacket 187 pp., 119 illustrations 2 in color. A half inch tear to the top edge of the back dustjacket cover, otherwise fine. From the ... Bampton Lectures in America delivered at Columbia University. Includes bibliography (Works in English), list of illustrations, and index. Dustjacket is protected with a mylar cover. Read more Show Less

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Overview

In The Painter's Practice, James Cahill reveals the intricacies of the painter's life with respect to payment and patronage - an approach that is still largely absent from the study of East Asian art. Drawing upon such unofficial archival sources as diaries and letters, Cahill challenges the traditional image of the disinterested amateur scholar-artist, unconcerned with material rewards, that has been developed by China's literati, perpetuated in conventional biographies, and abetted by the artists themselves. His work fills in the hitherto unexplored social and economic contexts in which painters worked, revealing the details of how painters in China actually made their living from the sixteenth century onward. Considering the marketplace as well as the studio, Cahill reviews the practices and working conditions of artists outside the Imperial Court such as the employment of assistants and the use of sketchbooks and prints by earlier artists for sources of motifs. As loose, flamboyant brushwork came into vogue, Cahill argues, these highly imitable styles ironically facilitated the forger's task, flooding the market with copies, sometimes commissioned and signed by the artists themselves. In tracing the great shift from seeing the painting as a picture to a concentration on the painter's hand, Cahill challenges the archetype of the scholar-artist and provides an enlightened perspective that profoundly changes the way we interpret familiar paintings.
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Editorial Reviews

Yale Review
Poses a challenge for future generations to plumb in depth such critical contextual questions as market and price, working methods and livelihood, and artist-client relationships.
Booknews
Cahill (art history, Univ. of Calif., Berkeley) blasts conventional notions of the elevated and disinterested scholar-artist in Chinese history. He studies the social and commercial context of art from the 16th century onward and the implications of that context for our understanding of traditional Chinese art. The book is based on an expansion of four lectures delivered at Columbia University in October 1991. Abundantly illustrated (in b&w). Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780231081801
  • Publisher: Columbia University Press
  • Publication date: 3/28/1994
  • Series: Bampton Lectures in America Series
  • Pages: 187
  • Product dimensions: 8.72 (w) x 11.29 (h) x 0.73 (d)

Meet the Author

James Cahill is Professor of Art History at the University of California, Berkeley. His most recent book is The Compelling Image: Nature and Style in Seventeenth-Century Chinese Painting, which won the Charles Rufus Morey Award of the College Art Association.

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Table of Contents

Preface
1 Adjusting Our Image of the Chinese Artist 1
2 The Painter's Livelihood 32
3 The Painter's Studio 71
4 The Painter's Hand 113
Notes 149
Bibliography (Works in English) 169
Illustrations 177
Index 181
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