In the Chinese Cultural Centre (中華文化中心) Sydney, there was a painting exhibition of a lady artist called Yu Jin-lan (余金蘭) from 21 to 28 July 2012. Altogether there were 86 pieces of Chinese paintings including flower and bird, figure and landscape paintings. Ms Yu Jin-lan was totally unknown to artists and art historians in Sydney and Hong Kong.

The paintings came about in a very unusual way. One day 86 scrolls of Chinese paintings packed into big suitcases were donated by a lady (about 70 years of age) to a Re-serve Op charity shop in Maclean, NSW. (Maclean is a small country town 658 km north east of Sydney, near the border with Queensland.) The paintings were the works of her grandmother. The staff displayed some of the scrolls in the shop and put a price tag of $5 to $10. Fortunately the manager of the shop, Mr Ross Campbell, sensed that selling the fine paintings that way was not doing them justice. He consulted a good friend, Ms Ying Carruthers, Coordinator of Adult Education at Christian Community Aid, Eastwood, in Sydney NSW. Ms Carruthers with the advice of a well-known Chinese Painting artist and educator, Ms Susan Lee (李祖升老師), meticulously evaluated and cataloged the paintings and organised an exhibition in Sydney to introduce the art of Ms Yu and to raise money for charity at the same time. The prices went from $200 for small paintings to $2800 for larger ones. All the money raised went to the Lower Clarence Christian Education Association for Scripture Education. Most of the 86 paintings were sold.

As I cannot trace the owners of the bigger paintings and get their permissions to publish the images on this webpage, I can only show paintings that I have bought.

11 (599x1280)
Bird looking over the cool autumn water 秋江冷豔, ink and Chinese watercolour on silk, 66 x 30 cm, Catalogue no: 11
15 (621x1280)
Pure offerings on the desk 案頭清供, ink and Chinese watercolour on paper, 76 x 35 cm, Catalogue no: 15
23 (684x1280)
Spring scene in Hong Kong (Bauhinia flowers) 香江春色, ink and Chinese watercolour on paper, 64 x 33.5 cm, Catalogue no: 23
32 (430x1280)
Bamboo in the wind 風來時作鳳鸞音, ink and Chinese watercolor on paper, 87 x 37 cm, Catalogue no: 18
8 (780x1280)
Gold fish 得水之樂, ink and Chinese watercolour on paper, 65 x 39 cm, Catalogue no: 8
36 (630x1280)
Four black birds on a peach tree, ink on silk, 78 x 37 cm, Catalogue no: 36
‧‥‧7 (657x1280)病蘭
Magpie on white magnolia 玉堂喜訊, ink and Chinese watercolour on paper, 44 x 37 cm, Catalogue no: 65
49 (1280x610)
Roses 紫膩紅酣, ink and Chinese watercolour on paper, 57 x 116 cm, Catalogue no: 49
61 (1280x779)
Roses and butterflies, ink and Chinese watercolour on silk, 44 x 74 cm, Catalogue no: 56
44 (848x1280)
Líng bō Wēi Bù (the fairy walking on water) 凌波微步, dated Dingwei 丁未 (probably 1967), ink and Chinese watercolour on paper, 99 x 64 cm, Catalogue no: 64
86
Landscape scroll, ink on paper, 57 x 121 cm, unsigned and undated, Catalogue no: 83
The catalogue of the Exhibits
The catalogue of the exhibits. The prices were later marked down a bit.
The flyer for the Exhibition
The flyer for the Exhibition
28,29 July 2012 Sing Tao Daily
Mr Korn Chuen Chow (周幹全先生) wrote about the Exhibition in 28,29 July 2012 Sing Tao Daily, Australian Edition (星島日報, 澳洲版)

Acknowledgements :

Patrick would like to thank Ms Yu’s granddaughter for her generosity in donating the precious paintings. Patrick is very grateful for the hard work of Mr Ross Campbell, Ms Ying Carruthers, Ms Susan Lee (李祖升老師) and her students. Without their efforts, these paintings would have been lost forever.

A Request:

Please contact Patrick by email if you have any information about Ms Yu Jin lan (余金蘭) or her paintings.  I am interested in any information you may be able to offer.

patrick.i.siu@gmail.com

From the painting of Spring scene in Hong Kong (Bauhinia flowers) 香江春色, Ms Yu might have lived in Hong Kong as Bauhinia × blakeana was the floral emblem of Hong Kong. Later on Ms Yu might have migrated to Australia and lived in Maclean or other towns in NSW.

Líng bō Wēi Bù (the fairy walking on water) 凌波微步 was dated Dingwei 丁未 (probably 1967). Ms Yu might be active around that period.

Patrick is still studying these paintings but he is also looking for a good home for them in a public art gallery which would treasure them. He does not want to bother his future grandson or granddaughter to take them to charity shops again.

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