Painting Recognition Request
August 6, 2011 12:38 PM   Subscribe

My brother has asked me -('cause I is a genius with this new Net thing) to identify a painting he came across in France, and additionally to translate the Japanese hieroglyphics contained within said pic. Tin-Eye was no help as it only linked to 4 expired Ebay-France pages.

Pretty sure it would be wrong to post the image here but if there's anybody interested enough to delve further, here's the Flickr link:

posted by Wrick to Media & Arts (16 answers total)
That's Chinese, not Japanese.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 12:39 PM on August 6, 2011

Response by poster: Oh, I see I didn't highlight the Link. Oh, and now I can't find the edit button, Oh...
posted by Wrick at 12:41 PM on August 6, 2011

Response by poster: AND I can't even get the language right. It's all my brother's fault, he said Japanese and I believed him. English teachers, eh?
posted by Wrick at 12:43 PM on August 6, 2011

link to picture, brush painting of "red tailed parrot"
posted by LobsterMitten at 12:48 PM on August 6, 2011

Any idea where in France he saw it?
And was it in a gallery, museum, for sale,...?
posted by LobsterMitten at 12:50 PM on August 6, 2011

Response by poster: Thanks Lobstermitten for the Link proper. All I know is that the family were holidaying in the Normandy region and that this was hanging on a wall in their Guest House. We are all(my Brother's family and I) presuming that what they saw was a copy of an original originating elsewhere. The "Red Tailed Parrot" title is mine only by the way, none of us has any Idea of the correct title of this piece.
posted by Wrick at 1:19 PM on August 6, 2011

This looks very similar to street art I bought in China for about $20. The artist used a broad wooden paddle dipped in watercolors for most of the painting, and then filled in some details with a brush; it took all of five minutes for him to make. I put it in a $200 custom frame and people think it's incredibly classy. I'm guessing your guest house owner had the same idea.

(China has a ton of street artists swarming around the tourist attractions, maybe due to the Communist tradition of free art school. They're very good at what they do.)

You'll never find the artist who made this. The red square stamp is a "signature," but these are highly stylized and have little to do with the artist's name; even if you knew the artist's name, he or she probably doesn't have a web site or anything.

I can't read Chinese but if you have a Chinese friend, I'm sure he or she could do a quick translation.
posted by miyabo at 1:58 PM on August 6, 2011

(Although if you have the eBay page where it was bought, you could track down the artist that way and buy more of his work!)
posted by miyabo at 2:02 PM on August 6, 2011

Response by poster: Yes to all. It was always my suspicion that Bruv hadn't stumbled upon an unrecognised masterpiece. The Chinese hieroglyphics though, anybody any idea?
posted by Wrick at 2:28 PM on August 6, 2011

I did a TinEye search for this contrast-enhanced version of the artist's stamp - didn't come up with any results. But linking it here just in case that image of the stamp is useful in searching.
posted by LobsterMitten at 2:55 PM on August 6, 2011

While hieroglyphics is a technically correct way to refer to the writing on the painting, you may have more luck referring to them as Chinese characters. There are English-Chinese character dictionaries out there, but unless you can identify the character already they will probably not be very helpful, as it looks like they're written in cursive. Someone who can read Chinese will be your best bet for translation.

Also, I doubt there will be enough of the artist's stamp for a correct identification, as there are only a couple identifiable characters, and anybody can get a custom stamp made in any tourist area.
posted by calistasm at 3:35 PM on August 6, 2011 [2 favorites]

I'm trying to decipher the characters here - they're written in fairly-non-cursive Chinese to be legible to me (cursive Chinese is 80% undecipherable to those not trained in reading it).
posted by monocot at 7:29 PM on August 6, 2011

Best answer: Okay, the first (rightmost, since we read from the right) row says:

Second row:
白石老人句 大[2 illegible characters]

The first row is the "caption" for the painting and means "you, so loquacious/talkative, don't speak [when you have something to say] in front of me" in an oldish-style Chinese, as seen in the pronoun used for "you" 汝 - it's more like thee in terms of the feeling it gives modern Chinese speakers. This is in obvious reference to the parrot with its back facing the viewer, and maybe the fact that parrots can speak? It's also probably allusion to something else as is always the case with Chinese.

As for the second row, it presumably refers to the authorship of the painting. 白石老人 refers to Qi Baishi, a famous Chinese painter, and appending 句 indicates that this is a quote from him. The last few characters are probably the artist's name or some such, but it's in cursive and I can't read it.
posted by monocot at 7:47 PM on August 6, 2011

Oh, and a possible connotation of the first row is that the parrot talks behind the speaker's back.
posted by monocot at 7:51 PM on August 6, 2011

The type of parrot is an African Gray.
posted by ljesse at 8:33 PM on August 6, 2011

Response by poster: I'll just close this as answered people. Thanks VERY much for your help and patience. Extra big hug to Monocot for doing the translation thing.

posted by Wrick at 12:30 AM on August 7, 2011

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