Artists Historians Curators

Ma Changli

11 Portait of Ma Changli

Born in Shanhaiguan, Hebei province in 1931, Ma Changli graduated from the Department of Painting, CAFA in 1953, and graduated from the postgraduate class of the Department of Oil Painting, CAFA in 1963. He stayed at the school as a teacher following his graduation, and is now a professor at CAFA. Ma Changli is a famous painter and art educator, he has been reknowned for his painting since the 1950s with the creation of “Daqing People”, “The Autumn Harvest Uprising”, “Move to Fight in Tai-hang Mountains”, etc., which are well-known masterpieces. Over the decades, the artist repeatedly explored and researched, he created a large number of high-quality works and formed his unique personal artistic style, he has made an important contribution to the development of Chinese oil painting.

Ma Changli inherited the tradition of the older generation such as Wu Zuoren, Luo Gongliu, Dong Xiwen, Ai Zhongxin, absorbing and integrating the technologies of impressionistic oil painting and the charm of traditional Chinese brush and ink, to create a style of oil painting that combines the realistic with expression, the spatial depth and graphic composition, combines withthe visual real and amiable with the summarized and refined composition of painting and other contradictory elements, so as to effectively implement the lyrical, elegant, comfortable and natural new style of painting, which was commonly and collectively created by Ma Changli and his contemporaries. Ma Changli is known for his fresh vitality, warm human feelings which is particularly compelling and offers a long aftertaste.

“In recent years, I am addicted to the creation of the landscape painting. It is because I consider landscape painting as the “song of mind”, the “silent” poem, and it helps me express my feelings, reflect my aesthetic ideal. I think the varying appearance of mountains and rivers, the change of windy, sunny, rainy, snowy, cloudy, foggy, frosty, dewy, etc., is a natural phenomenon which has no business with happiness and sorrow, joy and pain, but is given a variety of emotional colors and feelings through the performance of artists. For the different experiences, different artistic qualities and different feelings of the different artists, it conveys a variety of artistic conceptions and interests. Therefore, in the practice of art, I feel that painters should apply all expressive approaches in oil painting in addition focus on finding a view and the composition of the screen, in order to perfectly express. The charm of painting vividly and properly uses the expressive force of color, processing it in different colors according to different objects, the expression of different artistic conception expresses different personal feelings, so it actually uses color to convey feeling. In my creation, it is in an attempt to draw the characteristics of European impressionist color, at the same time, it integrates the aesthetic characteristics of the lyrical freehand from the Oriental art, to form an artistic style that reveals elegant and harmonious colors, bold, unrestrained and freehand brushworks, as well as a lyrical artistic conception.”

Excerpts from Ma Changli: Discovery of Beauty from the Ordinary

“It is both important for the teaching of technology and the improvement of artistic quality though the latter is the first. The improvement of art accomplishment runs through the teaching of technology. The students must oppose the blindpursuit of fashion and the impact of commodity painting, it emphasizes the respect for the artistic feeling and the sincerity for art.”

Excerpts from Ma Changli: Teaching Research for the Postgraduate Class of Oil Painting

“He has a modern consciousness in researching the language of form in landscape painting, paying attention to the most important visual factors in oil painting, namely color and tone, he combines the colors to form an unique and harmonious painting with his natural artistic endowment, at the same time, he also emphasizes the sensibility of the use of brush through writing to perfectly revealthe charm of the stroke so that the painting is covered by traces of brush.”

Excerpts from Fan Di’an: The Rhythm of the Painting is the Feeling of the Artist – Ma Changli’sArt of Oil Painting

“Ma Changli pays special attention to the beauty of brush strokes when using color to express feelings and ideas. He compares the relationship between color and brush in oil painting with the brush and ink in traditional Chinese painting. It reveals the elements of form such as dot, line, face, where it makes the varying feelings of the dynamic and static, the hard and soft, the heavy and light, the real and virtual, etc., to convey different emotions, showing the artist’s feelings, cultivation and personality.”

Excerpts from Shao Dazhen: Integration of Personality, Cultivation and Technology

“Ma Changli’s individual art feature is rich in poetic quality and music. He is not a poet but has a poetic mind, not a musician buthas musical sensibility. His mind is particularly sensitive, easy to be touched and full of imagination, he can see how things will develop from the first small beginnings and even any sight will bring back his feelings.

Excerpts from Wen LiPeng: The Singer of the Earth – Thoughts of the Oil Painting by Ma Changli

“In the classification of language, Ma Changli’spainting belongs to realism, but his mind is romantic, ideal. He is full of true love for the beauty of real life, and it is earthly love. At the same time, he keeps a distance from the filthy in the reality, it is an unworldly love.”

Dai Shihe: The Charm of Ordinary

“He is kind and silent, modest, courteous and peaceful, never flaunting himself, instead he works silently, quietly explores for years. But he has tenacious perseverance, refusing to follow trends and the vulgar, with a determined direction, dedication to go his own way, which is a good quality for a true artist.”

Li Tianxiang: I Love His Painting, I Respect His Character

“Professor Ma Changli is of high morality, with a gentle personality, he skillfully and patiently teaches students and he is such a nice teacher that he has never altered his smile to students over 60 years.”

Sun Ke: The Outstanding Educator of Oil Painting Ma Changli

“His quiet artistic conception is diverted from the mind, the presence of mind, also controlling thedesires when he facesmany materialdistractions, to reach a quiet realm.”

Ma Lu: From Romantic Amorous Feelings to Ordinary Scenery

“He concentrates on landscape painting, due to his respect for nature, to furtherput his feelings onto the screen and always believes that outstanding landscape paintings play an important role in the cultivation of temperament of human nature.”

Wu Weishan: Comprehension on Poetic Conception – Preface of the Retrospective of Ma Changli’s Art

Courtesy of the artist and CAFA ART INFO, translated by Chen Peihua and edited by Sue/CAFA ART INFO