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Flowers of the Four Seasons: Wisteria, Lotus, Chrysanthemum and Prunus
ink and color on paper, four framed scrolls
(1) Lotus in the Rain
signed and inscribed, with one artist seal, Qi Baishi
(2) Pines and Chrysanthum
signed and inscribed, with one artist seal, Baishi weng
(3) Chinese Wisteria
signed and inscribed, with one artist seals, Muren
(4) Camellias and Plum Blossom
signed and dated year Genshen (1920), inscribed, two artist seals, Baishi weng and Muren
Average height 69 3/8 x width 18 1/2 in., 176.2 x 47 cm (each image).
Property from the Collection of Hugh W. Hubbard, Sold by the Estate of Lloyd B. and Gladys Hubbard Swift, Bethesda, Maryland
Previously from the Collection of Cao Kun (Ts’ao K’un)
Reverend Dr. Hugh Wells Hubbard (1887-1975) was an American missionary whose station in China largely covered the first half of the twentieth century. Born in Turkey to missionary parents, Reverend Hubbard was initially reluctant to follow in his family’s footsteps, but found a calling in his first missions, and subsequently dedicated his life’s work to service in China across many fields.
Rev. Hubbard arrived in China in 1908 to teach English and athletics under the auspices of the YMCA. After meeting and marrying his wife, Mabel Ellis, he became ordained as a minister within the Congregational Church, and continued his missionary work under the American Board. He devoted many of his efforts to promoting literacy and rural development with the guidance of Dr. Y.C. James “Jimmy” Yen. Rev. Hubbard believed that the goals of his mission were to serve as a friendly and caring companion to all he encountered, which he achieved in part through these efforts. Inspired by the power of visual arts, he undertook a project to develop educational filmstrips in his own basement for use in his teaching. This work continued in his later collaborations with renowned animator Norman Maclaren for UNESCO.
In addition to his evangelical work, Rev. Hubbard also cultivated strong interests in ornithology and philately. In 1938, Reverend Hubbard collaborated with Dr. George Wilder to publish Birds of Northeastern China. Hubbard was a skilled hunter with a keen eye, who employed his skills both to collect specimens for institutions in the United States, including the Field Museum and Museum of National History; and to amuse children with whom he was held during their wartime internment at Weixian. After returning to the United States, he published The Handbook of Early Chinese Communist Stamps (1928–1938).
Rev. Hubbard’s interest in Chinese art and culture was piqued by early elective courses taken alongside his language instruction in Beijing. Throughout his tenure in China, he enjoyed diversions to curio shops and antique streets. He would visit the Palace Museum whenever in Beijing to cultivate his interest in painting, but made his purchases quite selectively. The present lot is an example of one such purchase. Rev. Hubbard acquired the paintings from the Baoding mansion of Cao Kun, a former warlord and president of the Republic of China, who was closely connected to the artist. They were removed from their mounting as a screen, and fortuitously brought by Rev. Hubbard to the United States while on furlough in 1936. They remained in his care until 1967, when he bequeathed them to his daughter Gladys Hubbard Swift, who had also served as a missionary to China.
Additional images available upon request. Please contact Asian@HindmanAuctions.com for a complete condition report.