Morning Glory by Qian Juntao

Many of Qian Juntao’s early works can be characterized by his vivid brushstrokes and the usage of inks rather than oil paints and acrylics. His work encapsulated the traditional painting style known as guó huà, or “national painting.” Juntao’s painting Morning Glory, officially known under the title Qiān niú huā (牵牛花), is a stunning example of this style. I choose this work because it represents one of the “two halves” of Juntao’s artistic style–he was known for traditional ink paintings as well as contemporary and modern graphics–two starkly contrasting art forms. Morning Glory is a staple of Juntao’s guó huà works, with flowing, dynamic brushstrokes accompanied by red and pink flowers. Heavy, rounded rock forms cluster toward the top and bottom of the piece, interrupted by thinner, vine-like brushtrokes and floral elements that separate the piece and lead the eye around the space of the painting. Natural scenes were quite popular in Juntao’s works, and he was well-known for incorporating floral imagery in his pieces. It is important to note the calligraphy on the right side of the piece as well as the two signature seals that are present in the bottom-left corner and right side. Juntao was famously known for his dedication to detailed seals–they served as a beautiful and original signature for his pieces. He was interested in seal making and calligraphy, and his dedication to these crafts can be found within this project. Juntao created hundreds of works similar to this piece, trademarked by his usage of traditional seals, calligraphy and ink illustration. Morning Glory gracefully represents the key ideas of guó huà–to portray the essence of the traditional themes of Chinese painting.


Works Cited

“Guo Hua: Defining Contemporary Chinese Painting 2017.” M. Sutherland Fine Art, M. Sutherland Fine Arts, Ltd., 25 Feb. 2017,

Juntao, Qian. “牵牛花 by Qian Juntao.” 牵牛花 by Qian Juntao on Artnet, Piasa,