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Sunrise at Sea

Tags: art | Lee Mei-Shu | painting

Lee Mei-Shu (1902–1983), 1978

Oil painting, 63 x 78 cm

Born in Sanxia Township in Taipei County, Lee Mei-Shu developed an interest in both music and fine arts as a child, owing to the fine upbringing he had. After graduating from Taipei Normal School in 1918, Lee served as a teacher and, during summer vacations, as an apprentice under Ishikawa Kinichirou. In 1928, he was admitted to the Tokyo School of Fine Arts, henceforth dedicated himself to various art movements in Taiwan. Sunrise at Sea is an oil painting executed by Lee, who was then 76. He captured the glimmer of dawn illuminating the sky and the serenity of the land along the seashore. Shades of off-white to blue-purple gradually spread across the sky, suggesting the gradual ascension of the morning sun. Meanwhile, a sense of solemnity envelops the land, which is set to breathe in the fresh air of a new day. At this moment, be it the rocks on the shore or the sea itself, everything stands still; the beauty that the artist captured is here for us to marvel at. The artwork by Lee, after World War II, went through a transformation from impressionism, characterized by tranquility and elegance, to representation of his social consciousness. The motifs of his work thereafter centered on hometown lives and smacked of local flavor. The meticulous composition of his work and their explicit realism mirror Lee’s enthusiasm for his native land.

Department of Graphic Communications and Digital Publishing, Shih Hsin University Digital archiving project of the Shung Ye Museum of Formosan Aborigines

Original Chinese text is composed by Professor Cheng-Ming Su, Department of Visual Arts, Taipei Municipal University of Education