In the late 19th century China entered a period of political and economic decline. This is when numerous artists were attracted to the relative safety of Shanghai - a treaty port where traditional Chinese painting styles were increasingly influenced by new imported media, including photography, lithography, color posters, and mass-circulation newspapers. It was in this cosmopolitan environment that a distinctive style of painting was born.
THE SHANGHAI SCHOOL
1.Chinese name - 海上画派 - Hǎishàng Huàpài.
2.It rejected orthodox interpretations of the Literati style that had dominated painting during the preceding three hundred years ( good example of that style were paintings by Shen Zhou from 16th century).
3.The Shanghai School favored portraiture, popular narrative subjects, and colorful flower-and-bird compositions.
4.Shanghai artists drew inspiration from the highly expressive and dramatically charged imagery and brushwork of 17th century individualists and the “eccentric” painters of 18th century Yangzhou.
5.They based their art on 17th and 18th century prototypes, butpreferred an even greater degree of exaggeration in forms and a brighter palette—stressing visual impact over symbolism or narrative content.
6.The most notable painters of the Shanghai School are Xugu (虛谷, 1824–1896), Pu Hua (蒲華, 1832–1911), Ren Bonian (任伯年, 1840–1895), and Wu Changshuo (吳昌碩, 1844–1927).