Fall 2021

Revolutionary Chinese Woodcuts

The Theodore Herman collection of modern Chinese woodcuts is one of only four of its kind outside of China. It includes more than 200 modern Chinese woodcut prints made between 1937 and 1948—from the beginning of the War of Resistance Against Japan (1937–1945) to the end of the Chinese Civil War between the Nationalists and Communists (1945–1949)—during the first flourishing of the modern Chinese woodcut movement.

This exhibition will feature a selection of woodcuts from the Herman Collection, many of which have not been exhibited before. The prints by prominent woodcut artists such as Li Hua, Wang Renfeng, and Yan Han, among others, range from showing the horrors of war and the plight of the peasantry to political protest imagery and genre subjects. The exhibition traces the development of diverse styles within the modern woodcut movement—from the adaptation of expressionist models Germany to the innovative use of a traditional Chinese visual vocabulary—and examines the view offered by the prints into Chinese life, society, and politics during a period of immense upheaval.