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NEW YORK - This exhibition will explore the twin themes of solitude and togetherness in Chinese art. For more than two thousand years, reclusion—removing oneself from society—has been presented as the ideal condition for mental cultivation and transcending worldly troubles. At the same time, communion with like-minded people has been celebrated as essential to the human experience. This choice, to be alone or to be together, has been central to the lives of thinkers and artists, and Chinese art abounds with images of figures who pursued both paths—as well as those who wove them together in complex and surprising ways. Companions in Solitude, presented in two rotations, will bring together more than 120 works of painting, calligraphy, and decorative arts that illuminate this choice—depictions of why and how people have sought space from the world or attempted to bridge the divide between themselves and others. In the wake of 2020, a year that has isolated us physically but connected us virtually in unprecedented ways, this exploration of premodern Chinese reclusion and communion will invite meditation on the fracture and facture of human connection in our own time.

Rotation one: July 31, 2021–January 9, 2022
Rotation two: January 31, 2022–August 14, 2022

Companions_Image_1200x1280 (1)

Attributed to Jiang Song (Chinese, first half of 16th century, Winter Landscape, first half of 16th century, Ming Dynasty (1368–1644). Handscroll; ink on paper, H. 12 1/4 in. (31.1 cm), W. 277 in. (703.6 cm). The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Seymour Fund, 1955 (55.124)© 2000–2021 The Metropolitan Museum of Art. 

DP205369_CRD

Wen Zhengming (Chinese, 1470–1559), Summer retreat in the eastern grovecalligraphy datable to 1512, Ming dynasty (1368–1644). Handscroll; ink on paper. Image (painting): 12 1/2 × 42 1/2 in. (31.8 × 108 cm), Image (colophon): 12 1/2 × 38 3/8 in. (31.8 × 97.5 cm), Overall with mounting: 13 in. × 9 ft. 9 1/2 in. (33 × 298.5 cm). The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Bequest of John M. Crawford Jr., 1988 (1989.363.60)© 2000–2021 The Metropolitan Museum of Art. 

1989

Chen Hongshou (Chinese, 1598–1652), Landscape, detail, mid-17th century, Ming dynasty (1368–1644). Folding fan mounted as an album leaf; ink and color on gold paper, 8 x 22 in. (20.3 x 55.9 cm). The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Bequest of John M. Crawford Jr., 1988 (1989.363.126)© 2000–2021 The Metropolitan Museum of Art. 

DP153654_CRD

Wu Li (Chinese, 1632–1718), Whiling Away the Summer at the Ink-Well Thatched Hut1679, Qing dynasty (1644–1911). Handscroll; ink on paper. Image: 14 5/16 x 105 3/4 in. (36.4 x 268.6 cm), Overall with mounting: 14 11/16 x 393 1/16 in. (37.3 x 998.4 cm). The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Ex coll.: C. C. Wang Family, Purchase, Douglas Dillon Gift, 1977 (1977.81)© 2000–2021 The Metropolitan Museum of Art. 

DP162812

Shitao (Zhu Ruoji) (Chinese, 1642–1707), Landscapesca. 1690s, Qing dynasty (1644–1911). Album of eight leaves; ink and color on paper, 5 7/8 x 10 3/4 in. (14.9 x 27.3 cm). The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Bequest of John M. Crawford Jr., 1988 (1989.363.154a–h)© 2000–2021 The Metropolitan Museum of Art. 

1989

Shitao (Zhu Ruoji) (Chinese, 1642–1707), Landscapesca. 1690s, Qing dynasty (1644–1911). Album of eight leaves; ink and color on paper, 5 7/8 x 10 3/4 in. (14.9 x 27.3 cm). The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Bequest of John M. Crawford Jr., 1988 (1989.363.154a–h)© 2000–2021 The Metropolitan Museum of Art. 

45

Lu Han (Chinese, died 1722), Eight landscapes1699, Qing dynasty (1644–1911). Album of eight leaves; ink and color on paper. Image (album): 14 × 10 in. (35.6 × 25.4 cm), Image (double leaf): 14 × 20 in. (35.6 × 50.8 cm), Image: 12 × 9 in. (30.5 × 22.9 cm)The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Bequest of John M. Crawford Jr., 1988Gift of Mrs. Henry J. Bernheim, 1945 (45.97.9a–h)© 2000–2021 The Metropolitan Museum of Art. 

14

Vase with Women Enjoying Scholarly Pursuits, early 18th century, Qing dynasty (1644–1911), Kangxi period (1662–1722). Porcelain painted with colored enamels over transparent glaze (Jingdezhen ware). H. 10 1/4 in. (26 cm); Diam. 5 in. (12.7 cm); Diam. of rim 2 3/8 in. (6 cm); Diam. of base 2 3/4 in. (7 cm). The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Bequest of Benjamin Altman, 1913 (14.40.88)© 2000–2021 The Metropolitan Museum of Art.