Frans Masereel and the Modern Woodcut Movement in China


Li Chun. “Drawing Up a
Production Plan.” Woodcut

Sep 30 – Dec 20, 2013

An exhibition of Chinese woodcuts from the folio Woodcuts of New China (1956) and Masereel’s folio, China Memories (1961).

The Chinese People’s Association for Foreign Cultural Relations invited Frans Masereel, a Belgium artist and pioneer of the woodcut novel, to China in 1958. Woodcut novels were wordless books of woodcuts that focused on the social ills in Europe during the early twentieth century. During his visit, Masereel discovered that his woodcut novels, not bound by a language barrier, had been widely distributed across China. Along with the influence of the great writer, Lu Xun, Masereel’s woodcuts served as an inspiration to the Chinese avant-garde movement in the 1930s and mirrored the revolutionary struggle of the Chinese people. This Expressionist style evolved into woodcuts of the mid-20th century that displayed more traditional styles and promoted the ideals of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). The Chinese woodcuts in this exhibition display examples from this later period and Masereel’s impressions in color reproductions and drawings of the Chinese people and countryside following his visit.

Curated by David A. Beronä, Dean of Library and Academic Support Services.

As part of the Adventures in Chinese Culture Lecture Series, Beronä will give a lecture on this topic, with special focus on Western artists like Masereel, Käthe Kollwitz, and Carl Meffert and their impact on Chinese avant-garde artists and the Modern Woodcut Movement on October 24, 2013 at 5:30 p.m. in the Karl Drerup Art Gallery.

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