Free Talk: Chang Dai-chien and the Exploration of Chinese Ink Art

Dates: Mon Nov 11, 19

Time: 5:30pm - 7:00pm

2019 nov 11 fang zhang
Chang Dai-chien was one of the best-known and most prodigious Chinese artists of the 20th century. Originally known as a guohua painter, by the 1960s he was also renowned as a modern impressionist and expressionist painter. Known as the "Picasso of the East," he was the most influential ink painter of modern China.

Fan Jeremy Zhang is Barbara and Gerson Bakar curator of Chinese art at the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco. He holds a Ph.D. from Brown University and an M.A. from Vanderbilt University, both in the history of art. He was trained at college as an archaeologist and conducted excavations at Kublai Khan's Xanadu in Inner Mongolia.

This talk will discuss Chang's paintings in the cultural and historical context of Chinese art and illustrate the significant contribution he made by reviving ancient traditions for a modern audience. Having broken the record for most expensive Chinese paintings, Chang's works today are among the most desirable for East Asian art collectors.

As an artist, Chang was versatile, prolific, and creative, with a rich knowledge of various painting styles and manners. Inspired by antiquity, he spent nearly three years in the desert at the Mogao grottos, where he studied ancient ink and brush techniques by emulating religious wall paintings. In 1949, Chang left mainland China and migrated to the Americas. His California years (1967-1977) witnessed a transformation in his art, in which he revived traditional splashed-ink and splashed-color techniques and engaged in contemporary conversations between East and West, past and present.

Dr. Zhang previously served as the Asian Art curator at the John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art in Sarasota, Florida, and the Smith College Museum of Art in Northampton, Massachusetts. He also held research positions at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Rhode Island School of Design Museum. Among his broad academic interests are the art and archaeology of middle-period East Asia, the material culture of China's conquest dynasties, the Silk Road trade and cultural exchange, and the early history of Asian art collections in North America. His publications include Royal Taste: The Art of Princely Courts in Fifteenth-Century China (Scala, 2015) and Collecting Art of Asia: Highlights of the Asian Collection at the Smith College Museum of Art (Smith College, 2013).

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