Xu Beihong @ Denver Art Museum

Xu Beihong, Portrait of the Artist’s Wife, 1947
Xu Beihong: Pioneer of Modern Chinese Painting is the first exhibition in the United States to explore the work of the 20th century artist who is widely recognized as the father of modern Chinese painting. This landmark exhibition at the Denver Art Museum offers a rare opportunity to see major works by the artist, most of which have never before been on view in North America.

One of the first Chinese artists to study in Europe, Xu integrated Western techniques with traditional styles to create a new, modern style of Chinese painting. The 61 works on view—including ink paintings, oil paintings, drawings, pastels and calligraphy— trace the full arc of Xu’s career, from early landscape paintings and drawings completed during his studies in Europe to portraits of political leaders including Mao Zedong and Mahatma Gandhi and his iconic horse paintings.

The museum is also presenting Threads of Heaven: Silken Legacy of China’s Last Dynasty, drawn exclusively from the DAM’s collection, which presents a glimpse into the latter years of the court and culture of the Qing Dynasty and the final days of empire in China. Dazzling dragon robes, rank badges and accessories, intricately embroidered pockets, shoes for bound feet and jeweled fingernail covers are among the approximately 100 pieces on view. Many of the works have either never before been exhibited or have not been displayed for many years.