Weng Rulan (翁如蘭)

Weng RulanWeng Rulan (1944-2012) was recognized for her artistic talent as a child. When she was eleven, her work was included in an exhibition of children's art sent to Yugoslavia and published in China. At the age of twelve, she was accepted at the prestigious Middle School of the Central Academy of Fine Arts in Beijing. From 1962 she studied at the Guohua ('National Painting') department under Ye Qianyu.

Her best known work is 'A Crowd of Clowns' from early 1967, caricaturing 39 prominent targets of the Cultural Revolution, such as Liu Shaoqi, Deng Xiaoping and He Long. The cartoon was published in many variations.

The cartoon did, however, cause political problems: it resulted in her persecution, jail and exile to Inner Mongolia. After the Cultural Revolution, she returned to Beijing and became an instructor at the Central Academy. In 1981, Ms. Weng came to the United States, as a graduate student at the University of Pennsylvania where she received her second Masters degree in Fine Arts with a focus on western oil painting in 1983.

"The Cultural Revolution in Images: Caricature Posters from Guangzhou 1966-1967", The Chinese University of Hong Kong Library

Julia F. Andrews, Painters and Politics in the People's Republic of China, 1949-1979 (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1994)

Self portrait: ca. 1983-1984, picture from Asia Art Archive - Joan Lebold Cohen Archive (aaa.org.hk)

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