Hanging scroll: ink and colors on paper
h 38 x w 11 inches
"This painting is one of the fine works of this subject from Wen's late period in which old trees took on a powerful symbolic
importance in his works. It was reproduced in [Osvald] Siren's Chinese Painting when it was owned by [an old collector] in
Ashiya [Japan]. Siren had visited the old [collector], as I did during my Fulbright year. After his death the collection
passed to his older son, who was passionately devoted to racing cars and cared nothing about Chinese paintings. In the 1980s
[the son] began releasing them to New York auctions, and this Wen Cheng-ming appeared in [a] catalog.
"This was too late a purchase to figure in my Wen Cheng-ming seminar, in which old trees, especially cypresses, were a major
theme - I organized a weekend trip to Point Lobos near Carmel to see the famous old cypresses there; we stayed overnight at
Chang Ta-ch'ien's [a contemporary Chinese painter] place at Pebble Beach [his daughter Sing was in the seminar]."