Clouds of Ink Pools of Colour: Hou Beiren


Born in Liaoning province in 1917, the painter Hou Beiren has been witness to several of mid-twentieth century China’s determining events and experiences—the Japanese invasion, civil war, communist takeover and post-1949 exodus and exile. His panoramas are filled with playful but elegiac meditations on the theme of the Chinese landscape, expressed in luminescent swirls of colour and cascading ink.

An examination of Hou Beiren’s life in ink offers a personal history of splashed ink landscape painting in light of the mid-twentieth century revival of this mode of painting and its future trajectory. Developed in conjunction with a display of Hou Beiren’s paintings (16 May–26 June 2020) at UMAG, this presentation of recent work was especially poignant, as the artist had spent several formative years in Hong Kong in the early 1950s prior to departing for America. Today, Hou Beiren lives in northern California, where he continues to paint in his beloved Old Apricot Villa, his home and studio for over 50 years.

The catalogue section of this platform includes all of Hou Beiren's paintings currently held by UMAG.

Support for the development of this online platform was generously provided by a 2020-21 Knowledge Exchange grant from The University of Hong Kong.

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