Webmaster's Intro
 

Lin Fengmian was my father's eldest brother. In 1920 he left for France through a work-study program for six years. My own father, fourteen years younger than him, emigrated to Mauritius in 1937. In the summer of 1958, I spent a month in Shanghai and visited my uncle Lin Fengmian at his home on Nanchang Road almost every other day. He was a kind and humble man; he introduced me to his student friends and treated me to many well known restaurants. He showed me his works and his recent book on impressionist painters. At the time, I was nineteen years old and knew very little about  impressionist painters and much less about Chinese artists but I was awe-struck by his art and his passion. And intuitively, perhaps because I was myself coming to terms with the western influence in Mauritius and the Chinese culture my father tried to instill in me by sending me to China, I felt my uncle's paintings reflected the best of both worlds, a harmonious marriage of East and West.

When it was time for me to bid goodbyes and go north to Beijing, he offered me one of his paintings. I treasured it very much and had it mounted. When I left Beijing in 1961, I gave it to my sister for safe keeping. Then the Cultural revolution came, with its ocean of havoc and despair, and my sister had to destroy all the paintings our uncle gave us. It was a sad loss! But one gift he gave me has withstood the test of time and will stay with me forever! It was there, in the Shanghai of 1958, in his studio situated at 53 Nanchang road, that I came to grips with the notions of composition, balance, harmony, lighting and mood through my uncle's nudging, his discourses and the close contact with his works. I have applied these teachings and concepts to my own photography. I have also taught these same concepts to my photography students.  My uncle's legacy lives on!

 

Philip Lim 

 

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