The Stories of Foreign Professors in Hangzhou National Art College
Art Exchange VOL.03/2013|By Han Xuezhu
Two Temples of Su&Bai——the Dormitory of the Students
Students Boating in the West Lake
Full Views of Luoyuan
The Letter Cai Yuanpei to Lin Fengmian
Teacher's School Trip
The Old Camohor at the School Gate

  • Two Temples of Su&Bai——the Dormitory of the Students
  • Students Boating in the West Lake
  • Full Views of Luoyuan
  • The Letter Cai Yuanpei to Lin Fengmian
  • Teacher's School Trip
  • The Old Camohor at the School Gate
   

2013 is the 85th anniversary of the foundation of China Academy of Art. 

There are few colleges who have the history as profound as China Academy of Art, because it was founded in a special time, and it had gathered a special generation. Served as the headmaster of the National Government University in 1927, Cai Yuanpei decided to establish a national art college around Yangtze River basin to realize his ideal art replacing religion". Cai Yuanpei thought a lot about the site selection, and finally decided that "none other than the West Lake", thus he addressed at Hangzhou West Lake Kushan. Subsequently, Cai Yuanpei and Lin Fengmian, the dean of the National Art College, they rent Luo Yuan as the schoolhouse with a silver dollar and held the opening ceremony in April 1928, which marked the official establishment of the National Art College. Cai Yuanpei delivered an impassioned speech on the ceremony: the National Government University founded the National Art College in West Lake to create beauty, so that people can change their superstitious mind to beautiful mind, so as to fulfill people's life!" 

Foreign professors have always been invited to Hangzhou National Art College. Since its beginning to the outbreak of the Anti-Japanese war, there were 11 foreign professors working in the college in all. They were all talented in their own professional area and devoted themselves to their work, selflessly imparting knowledge to Chinese students and making great contributions to the early glories of the college; one of them even died on his duty. According to Qiu Xi’s memory, the 11 foreign professors are: Japanese design professor Saito Yoshihide, from the fine arts institute of Tokyo Imperial University. He strived for novel designs and produced art works with strong Japanese style; Japanese teacher Narita Kojiro, Saito's assistant; British sculpture professor Wegrtaf, one of the hosts of Shanghai Weida foreign firm, he was good at stone carving; Russian sculpture professor Kamienshy, Rodin’s followers, had a high requirement on the anatomy and lived sloppily; Russian design Professor M.Dowracheff, graduated from the architecture and fine arts college of Petrograd, teaching architectural decoration. He was also a stage art musician. He is the one who first introduced the method of decorating the stage with painted scene in Europe theaters to China; Estonia Professor Salechef, served as the teacher of music conducting; Russian vocal music professor Masenl, a private teacher in Shanghai originally; Russian design professor Shelovsky, the original chief designer of Shanghai Faringdon advertising company. His rich knowledge and experience helped to improve the basic knowledge and application ability in advertising of the students; Russian music professor Padonghho, the original chief viola of Shanghai Town Hall Symphony Orchestra. 

French professor Kelodow, served as the teacher of oil painting and sketch in tutorial class and painting seminar. His oil paintings were known as the deep color and powerful strokes, which were loved by students. He was so romantic and creative, who disliked the imitation and mechanical school education, that he left the Academy of Fine Arts without graduation to push the new art movement with Picasso and others in Paris. Kelodow had become famous in Paris and the French art critic of that time said: "we can see his vigorous and active stroke from Kelodow’s paintings, at the same time there is a deep momentum coming into our hearts. He deserves to be the giant of neo-Impressionism!” 

Since Kelodow came to China, he had extremely admired Chinese people for their both philanthropic and peaceful character, and the charm of oriental art. He began to work as an instructor of research department, Li Keran was his student. Li Keran preferred to paint with the colors, such as earth red, yellow ochre, Indian red, eggplant, cyan and especially black rather than bright colors. Kelodow was curious about that and asked: "Do you have a fever?" “No.” “Then why can’t you see the color accurately?" Then he spoke again how black was unscientific sullenly. But he became good-tempered when he saw Li Keran’s works again before long. He said: "It was wrong for me to criticize you because of using black color the last time. Then I think, you are oriental and oriental painting tone is just black. Well, how can I forbid you to use black! So from now on, you can continue to use black! We can see Kelodow’s artistic insights and generosity from this story. 

Russian sculpture professor Kamienshy, Rodin’s followers, had a high requirement on the anatomy and lived sloppily. Unlike most Russian Professors with good reputation of behavior and skills, Kamienshy was a controversial teacher. It is said that he misbehaved, hit the bottle, and even teased female students. Many years later, student Mai Fangming, took down his fun: 

One day evening, Wu Junyao and I went to a nearby noodle shop, Kamienshy came along. He wore an old duffle coat and called two bowls of noodles with shredded meat. He ate a bowl of noodles first, and then stood up and looked around, reaching into his pocket and pulling out a handkerchief, wiping his hands. Suddenly he outstretched fingers, carrying out the shredded meat and noodles from the bowl, draining the oil soup and pocketed them! That was so surprising that we couldn’t help laughing. He looked at us and also smiled himself, nodding to us and smilingly said in English: "give my dog to eat." I stood up and said, "Can we go to have a look?" He stretched out his right hand and gestured happily "please!" "Thank you!" We went with him to his studio immediately. Only to the door, the dog couldn't wait and stood up to knock the door with its claws to welcome his master, trembling with excitement. Once the door opened, it rushed to the coat pocket scratching and sniffing, which shows that it was used to eating dog food in the pocket. He did not bark at us strangers, as we saw him an ordinary rural small brown dog. Professor said: "don't hurry! Get down!" Then he ran to the corner with a bowl waiting to eat. 

The Professor smoothly opened the lamp. I saw a big head statue on the large rectangular work bench at first glance, which just began to be heaped. It was starting from the collarbone, exerting itself to elongate neck, with a head of thick and fluffy curls, just like the scattered flame, releasing into the atmosphere. I can not help but whisper: "ah, the westerly!" Kamienshy said: no! It is typhoon! I haven't sculptured the eyes yet! The mud is not enough and the hair also should be longer......” The sculpture was much larger than a true head; it was as big as a vegetables basket. Its flying hair was full of momentum, its deeply gouged out eyes seemed shooting out a withering violent blast; it is really Rodin’s typhoon! Then the puppy came to its master to ask for caress. But Kamienshy waved and said: "I'm busy right now! Go! Go! And I do not have time to play with you. I will work with the mud." In order not to delay his work, we thanked the Professor and left his studio. 

As for the foreign professor who died in line of duty, Procopchok, he was Austrian. He was a violinist, a brilliant man of wide learning, with in-depth study of various musical instruments and performance. It was he who created the orchestra of the college single-handedly. He selected the world famous opera Goethe's "Faust" as the textbook and FeiManEr starred in the opera playing margarita, Yu Peng played Faust, Qiu Xi played Miffystov. One day, in a tense rehearsal, for the sake of librettos of Faust, they practiced repeatedly but failed to pass. Suddenly, the baton paused, and Procopchok flopped down on the platform. Qiu Xi rushed to help him sit in a chair, calling his name time and time, but he was lifeless. He stopped breathing due to cerebral hemorrhage when he was sent to Charity Hospital hurriedly. Professor Procopchok had worked in the college for only two years, but he trained a group of excellent students, such as FeiManEr, Yu Peng, Tan Jinqiao, Zheng Jinluann with his enthusiasm for teaching. Teachers and students expressed deep condolences to his death, because he was the first teacher died in line of duty.

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