Qing dynasty (AD 644-1911)
Acquired from another collection
Huang Shen (1687-1768), who had the style names Gongmao, Gongshou and Juzhuang, and the personal name Yingpiao, was also known as the Cloth Robe of the Eastern Sea. He was a native of Dinghua, in Fujian. In his youth his family were poor. Later in life he resided for some time in Yangzhou, where he sold paintings for a living. In his early years he worked in an elaborate and realist style, while his later works were more abstracted and expressive. Huang Shen was an expert portrait painter, who also branched out into genres such as landscape and bird and flower painting. He was an accomplished poet, calligrapher and painter in the Yangzhou Painting School.
The lady in this painting is portrayed in a serene attitude, with a floating robe that stretches to the floor. Her belt is waving in the air, the painting executed with very light and subtle use of colour. She clutches a mandarin duck to her chest, a serene attitude executed with incredible finesse. This works realist style of portrait painting, well-balanced tonality in the ink, and wild and rapid brushwork used for the robes, comprehensively illustrate the incredible brush and ink method, and use of cursive calligraphic techniques that characterise Huang Shen's painting.