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page 20 SAN  FRANCISCO SUNDAY CHRONICLE  THIS WORLD, May 15, 1960

The Vertical Perspectives of Ch'i and Asawa
Music and Art
By Alfred Frankenstein

THE DISPLAY of 100 objects from the Avery Brundage Collection of Oriental Art, which opened last week at the M.H. de Young Memorial Museum, is the major event of the spring so far as this department is concerned, but the opening was not timed for this newspaper's convenience and the show will have to be discussed here at a later time. That is all to the good, in a way, because it permits us to call your attention to another Oriental show at the de Young which is likely to be overlooked in the crush of excitement over the Brundage things. It is a show of paintings by Ch'i Pai-shih, lent the de Young by Yakichiro Suma of Tokyo.
 
Suma has been collecting Ch'i for many years, and his exhibition at the de Young 

[[image]] 
VIOLINIST David Abel will be guest soloist with the San Francisco Symphony Wednesday and Saturday at 8:30 p.m., and Friday at 2:15 p.m. at the War Memorial Opera House. Enrique Jorda will conduct. [[/image]]
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earn your living as an artist! 
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THE ACADEMY OF BALLET 
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of Ballet Russe of Monte Carlo
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GALERIE GILDEA
Fine Paintings - Sculpture 
OPENING MAY 16TH: Paintings by NAN STREET FOWLER
Sculpture by DONALD HERBERHOLZ
811 Bush near Mason    TUxedo 5-5200
San Francisco          Open Noon - 6 p.m. 
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consists of about 150 works by this Chinese master, whose life story, as outlined by Alice Boney in the beautifully printed catalogue, follows a familiar Oriental pattern.
Ch'i came up from a very humble family, approached painting by way of wood carving, cabinet making, and seal-cutting, and did not achieve celebrity until his old age. All the pictures at the de Young were painted between 1922, when Ch'i was 61 years old, and 1950, when he was 89; he died in 1957 at the age of 96.
The show is a little too large for detailed comment, and its 150 components have been hung too close together for comfort. Because of the Brundage exhibition, the museum is short of space, and so all the Ch'is have been placed in one gallery, where they line the walls in much too fast a sequence. Chinese art traditionally invites one to contemplation, and Ch'i is a Chinese traditionalist, but the hanging here, with the pictures jostling each other all over the walls, is strictly Western in style. The jostle has one good result, however: it emphasizes the verticality of this artist’s style and of Chinese painting in general. 

I SUPPOSE our perceptions of nature, and especially of landscape, are conditioned by the way in which we write and read. The West reads horizontally, and its concept of perspective is horizontal, too. China and Japan read vertically, and the perspective of these peoples runs from top to bottom, not from left to right. To be sure, the Far East has its horizontal scroll paintings, just as vertical landscapes are not unknown in the West, but these things are exceptions to the rule.

Be that as it may, Ch’i is a past master of the vertical
 
[[image]]
MARO AJEMIAN, pianist, will appear with the San Leandro Symphony, Thursday, 8:15 p.m., at Bancroft Junior High School in San Leandro. 
[[2 images, next to each other]]
CH'I LANDSCAPE     AWASA SCULPTURE

perspective which gives Chinese landscape so mysterious a quality for us of the West. He is likewise a past master of the Chinese still life- flowers, bamboo, birds, leaves, stones- and the Chinese character portrait of sages and scholars. Like most great Oriental artists, writing, drawing, and painting are all one to him; unlike many, he practices all three with extraordinary boldness, fire, grandeur, and simplicity. 

Leaving the exhibition of Ch’i Pai-shih one passes through the exhibition of knitted wire sculptures by Ruth Asawa, and with one’s eye especially attuned to the vertical, one sees as never before how much Miss Aswa’s long, fluent, hanging forms are indebted to Oriental calligraphy. They are Oriental calligraphy interpreted by a mind of Western education and training, but they nevertheless have their base in the very same attitudes that condition the work of Ch’i. Miss Asawa, in other 

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Hand Engraved 
"Pictures"
by Orville J. Kuhl, master engraver in his den, 121 Elena Dr. Walnut Creek, YE4-8453 for appointment
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words, is one of those rare souls who deepen and intensify the Oriental tradition and give it greater validity through extension of its values. I believe Suma San was here to see his Ch’is on display, and I hope he took a few Asawas back with him. 

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Please note that the language and terminology used in this collection reflects the context and culture of the time of its creation, and may include culturally sensitive information. As an historical document, its contents may be at odds with contemporary views and terminology. The information within this collection does not reflect the views of the Smithsonian Institution, but is available in its original form to facilitate research. For questions or comments regarding sensitive content, access, and use related to this collection, please contact transcribe@si.edu.