油彩 Oil painting
尺寸不詳 Dimensions unknown
中央研究院臺灣史研究所典藏 Collection of Institution of Taiwan History, Academia Sinica
Majestic and imposing, Guanyin Mountain is a favorite subject matter for numerous senior painters to sketch Tamsui. They would situate themselves at a high place of the small town to overlook the opposite riverbank, and invite the emerald green mountain and the dark blue river to stay in their paintings. Many distinguished painters, like Liao Chi-chun, Chen De-wang, and Liao Te-cheng, have made such works by looking far into Guanyin Mountain.
Among the extant oil paintings by Chen Cheng-po, only this piece is left with a black and white photograph treating Guanyin Mountain as its subject. It is interesting to wonder: Where was the painter when he looked far into the spectacular peak of the acclaimed “Fuji at Tamsui”?
Let’s watch this picture. If the brushwork on the right represents the flowing Tamsui River, according to the relative position of the mountain and the river, this painting was probably made at a high place in the south of Guanyin Mountain. In 1935, Chen Cheng-po completed a pencil sketch from the Shihzihtou, a pass in the south of Guanyin Mountain. The viewpoint of this oil painting is hardly different from that of the sketch.
觀音山獅子頭展望淡水-SB20：35.11.29 1935 紙本鋼筆 13.5×18.2cm 私人收藏
Looking Towards Tamsui from Shihzihtou -SB20：35.11.29 1935 Pen and ink on paper 13.5×18.2cm Private collection
However, taking a closer look at the center of the picture plane, you may find that the horizontal lines at the foot of the mountain seem to represent the flowing water, and the shape of the pictorial mountain closely corresponds to the panorama of Guanyin Mountain overlooked from Tamsui. In addition, this painting is also similar to Chen Cheng-po’s another painting Tamsui Golf Course, a small-sized oil on wood. Above all, there is a whole stretch of flat, light-colored oil paint at the bottom of the picture plane, along with the squares piling up from the left bottom corner—perhaps they also represent the green and steps on Tamsui Golf Course.
淡水高爾夫球場 1935 木板油彩 23.5×33cm 私人收藏
Tamsui Golf Course 1935 Oil on wood 23.5×33cm Private collection
Until the true coloration of the painting is identified, all kinds of speculation cannot be confirmed. In 1938, Chen Cheng-po gave this photo to Chen Hsu-ku (also called Chen Man-ying), a distinguished scholar in Changhua. The clues to the painting are probably hidden in that story, waiting for us to make further textual researches.
弟 陳澄波 敬贈
To Mr. Chen Man-ying:
Please keep this painting as a souvenir.
The Guanyin Mountain was made for a one-man show of painting held when I sojourned in Changhua City.
On March 26, 1938