The Western art was so amazing and fascinating in the first half of the 20th century. At the time, the flourish of “La Belle Epoque” (The Twilight of the 19th Century) remained, and meanwhile, a new world born from the ashes of war arose, in which the modern art movements burst out and various avant-garde arts emerged endlessly. All above attracted the artists from all over the world.
After the Revolution of 1911, Chinese artists flowed to the West, opening up a period with the most frequent exchanges between Chinese and Western culture. This started with Lin Fengmian and Wu Dayu, as the representatives of the formalism and expressive paintings; then came "the Three Musketeers", who combined western abstract art with classical spirit in Chinese art and culture perfectly; there were also artists who achieved their own aesthetics in a poetic way like San Yu and Pan Yuliang, and Yan Wenliang and Su Tianci whose art attached great importance on emotion or atmosphere, as if catching the “rhythm” of nature.
The exhibition selects the most "poetic" works of the great artists who flowed to the West in this period. They had profound background of Chinese classical culture, and dedicated themselves to the Western classical art, impressionism and fauvism, etc. after going to the west. In the process of learning Western art and culture, these strangers reflected themselves and made this invisible collision between Eastern and Western cultures visible. And, all of a sudden, a new world was opened up.
The intellectuals of this time pursued understanding the world through study, while they never forgot to return to their own root in art. In spite of the western style in form, their works are filled with Oriental melancholy, not relying on the inscriptions and poems. “As I was deeper in thought, I gradually rediscovered China”, as Zao Wouki had ever said.