Portrait of Woman in Charcoal from a Photo Studio
Size:Length:103.6 x Width:71 (cm)
Introduction：Charcoal portraits were developed in Chinese society after photography had been introduced to China. In the beginning of the 20th century, many photography studios were established in Taiwan, greatly stimulating people’s desire to have portraits taken. Nevertheless, photography and its techniques were not accessible to all. Very delicate charcoal portraits based on photos became a service that met people’s needs. During the Japanese Colonial Period, as more and more photography studios were set up and the film development time was shortened, photos replaced the business of charcoal portraits again, and many portrait painters transferred to this industry after acquiring the skills of photography or film retouching.
This charcoal portrait presents the painter’s very accurate depiction of the character, especially the facial muscles under the effects of light and shadows. At the left bottom it shows the year 1933, the author was Kachair So. It is one of the very few large charcoal portraits of a lady, which conserves the transitional time when painters were becoming photographers.
Tsai Wen-Shiang, “A Gentle Breeze: Aura and Inspiration in Photography and Literature”