Photo © President and Fellows of Harvard College
Identification and Creation
Object Number
Hong Xian [Hung Hsien], Chinese (Yangzhou, China born 1933)
Autumn Hills
Work Type
wall scroll, painting
Persistent Link
Physical Descriptions
Horizontal wall scroll (framed); ink and color on paper, with artist’s signature and seal
painting proper: 61 x 97.8 cm (24 x 38 1/2 in.)
Framed: 81.28 x 116.84 x 5.08 cm (32 x 46 x 2 in.)
Inscriptions and Marks
  • Signed: Lower left, black ink: Hong Xian (Chinese brush-written characters followed by a red seal reading "Hong Xian")
  • inscription: brush-written in lower left of painting: Signed: "Hong Xian"
  • seal: artist's seal: Square red intaglio seal, following signature: "Hong Xian"
Hong Xian, Chicago (1968-1970), gift; to Chu-tsing Li, Lawrence, Kansas (1970-2012), gift; to his son B U.K. Li, Milwaukee, Wisconsin (2012-2016), gift; to Harvard Art Museums, 2016.

1. Dr. Chu-tsing Li (1920-2014)

Acquisition and Rights
Credit Line
Harvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum, The Chu-tsing Li Collection, Gift of B U.K. Li in memory of Chu-tsing Li, Yao-wen Kwang Li, and Teri Ho Li
Accession Year
Object Number
Asian and Mediterranean Art
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Delicate texture strokes of ink, as well as applications of pink, brown, and gray, create a monumental landscape in a large horizontal format. The palette suggests autumn, and the brushstrokes suggest rock surfaces eroded into pinnacles and boulders.
Hong Xian used traditional Chinese brushwork in a composition that recalls Western format and picture space. Though not without precedent in Chinese art, the large horizontal format and the vantage point offering a panoramic view most likely have their sources in Western painting.
Hong Xian left China for Taiwan in 1948, and there had the remarkable opportunity to study traditional Chinese painting with Pu Ru (1896–1963), the former Manchu prince, whose work preserved the noble court painting traditions of the Qing dynasty (1644–1911). She also studied art at National Taiwan Normal University. In 1958 she came to the U.S., where she studied Western art at Northwestern University and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She thus had training at the highest levels in both traditions.
Publication History

Chu-tsing Li, New Directions in Chinese Painting: An Exhibition of Nine Contemporary Chinese Painters, brochure, University of Kansas Museum of Art (Lawrence, KS, 1970), pp. 118-19, cat. 30

Chu-tsing Li, Rocks, Trees, Clouds, and Water: The Art of Hung Hsien, exh. cat., Spencer Museum of Art (Lawrence, KS, 1978), cat. no. 15

Chu-tsing Li and Wan Qingli, Zhongguo xian dai hui hua shi: dang dai zhi bu, 1950-2000 [A history of modern Chinese painting: contemporary] (Taipei, Taiwan, 2003), p. 144

Robert D. Mowry and Claudia Brown, A Tradition Redefined: Modern and Contemporary Chinese Ink Paintings from the Chu-tsing Li Collection, 1950-2000, exh. cat., Harvard University Art Museums/Yale University Press (Cambridge, Mass., 2007), cat. 22

Exhibition History

A Tradition Redefined: Modern and Contemporary Chinese Ink Paintings from the Chu-tsing Li Collection, 1950-2000, Harvard University Art Museums, Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Cambridge, 11/03/2007 - 01/27/2008; Phoenix Art Museum, Phoenix, 06/28/2008 - 09/14/2008; Norton Museum of Art, West Palm Beach, 10/11/2008 - 01/04/2009; Spencer Museum of Art, Lawrence, 02/11/2009 - 05/24/2009

This record has been reviewed by the curatorial staff but may be incomplete. Our records are frequently revised and enhanced. For more information please contact the Division of Asian and Mediterranean Art at