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Playing with Water

Oil painting, 116.5 x 91 cm, 1979

“Playing with Water” is painted by Li Mei-shu (1902-1983), a renowned Taiwanese artist. The painting records the Li family’s outing to Dabao Creek in Sanhsia. Seventy-eight years old at the time but still hard at work, Li asked his third daughter-in-law Wu Hsiu-wen to model for him. Although he had already planned out the painting in his mind, he was unsatisfied with how the clothes Wu wore that day would appear in the picture. One day Wu’s sister happened to come by for a visit and Li, taking a liking to the brightly colored floral-print chiffon dress the girl wore, borrowed the dress to use in the painting. In fact, the focus of this painting is not on its subject, but rather on the beauty that comes from interplay of the light. The rocks and flowing water are treated masterfully by Li.

To learn more about Li Mei-shu, please go to Li Mei-shu, the “Great Wall” of Taiwanese Art Movement

Text and image are provided by The Li Mei-shu Memorial Gallery