Qi Baishi (齐白石 - Qí Báishí) Former Residence in Beijing

Rem Sapozhnikov / May 2014
Walking around Beijing in the area of Qianhai Lake (前海) I intended to go to Qi Baishi Museum (1864-1957) located three kilometers to the west from the Forbidden City. To my surprise Google maps showed that there is one more museum of this painter located not far from me to the east of the lake; its location address: No. 13, Yuer Hutong (雨儿胡同 - Yǔer hútòng). Shishahai (什刹海站 - Shíshāhǎi) subway station may serve as a reference point; it is necessary to go 600 meters to the south-east of this station. First you need to go along the small channel and then along the well-groomed street.

There is a plate above the entrance – "Memorial Hall of Qi Baishi's former residence". Working hours: from 9 am to 17 pm, ticket sales (5 yuan) are terminated after 16 pm.
Qi Baishi monument.
Qi Baishi moved (or were resettled by the authorities acting in good faith) to this traditional Chinese house siheyuan only in 1955 when he was 90 years old! It means that this place can not be considered to be the home of the painter.
It is rather strange that in the beautiful brochure provided together with the ticket there is no information about the fact that Qi Baishi has been living for more than thirty years in another place in Beijing, 5.5 km away from here in Xicheng District; there in 1984 his real home-museum was opened.

Qi Liangzhi, younger daughter of the painter, recalled that her father really missed his home in Xicheng where the trees and flowers planted by him were growing. Therefore, he quickly came back to his real home. Zhou Enlai came to that place to visit the painter. House at Yuyer Hutong, which is now the Hall of Qi Baishi, has been soon transferred to the China Artists Association.

During the period of the Republic of China (1912-1949) Dong Shuping (董叔平 - Dǒng Shūpíng) – Director of Beihai Park, lived here (he occupied houses No. 11, 13, 15). After proclamation of the People's Republic the property of the director were divided among people, and in 1955 the Ministry of Culture bought and present Qi Baishi with house No. 13.
The new Museum was opened here on May 13, 2012.
Stands on the walls of the Museum tell about the painter’s life. In 1954 Qi Baishi was visited by Alexander Gerasimov, people’s artist and president of the USSR Academy of Arts.
And of course there are reproductions of his works and also you can buy albums and souvenirs.
Hutong located in Xicheng where the real house of Qi Baishi is situated is completely demolished now. Only the painter’s house remained and all around there are banks (3 massive buildings situated on opposite sides of the cross-road) and corporations. On May holidays when the downtown of the city is overcrowded it is quiet and peopleless there.
The real home of Qi Baishi is situated behind this fence.
In 1917 when Qi Baishi was 55 years old he came to Beijing for the second time. Finally, he moved to live here in 1919. In 7 years, in 1926, he bought the house where he lived until his death (1957).
Entrance to his house. After the death of Qi Baishi his children lived there and in 1984 the Museum was opened. In 2012 the Museum was moved to the tourist area in the Yuyer Hutong; suddenly this real house was forgotten.
Memorial tablet is still there.

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