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Virtual Asian-American Art Museum Project

Alexei Taylor, Author

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Chang Dai-chien (Zhang Daqian)

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Born: 1899 Neijian, Sichuan, China
Died: 1983 Taipei, Taiwan
1899: China
1949: Hong Kong, China
1950: Darjeeling, India
1952: Argentina
1954: Brazil
1967: Carmel, CA, USA
1978-1983: Taipei, Taiwan
1974: Honorary Doctorate from the University of the Pacific, CA
Selected Work:
Snow in Spring Mountain, 1978. Collection particuliere, Hong Kong
Splashed color landscape, 1965. Hanging scroll; ink and color on paper, 23 ¾ x 37 ¾ in.
Crimson lotuses on gold screen (6 panel screen), 1975. Ink and color on silk, 66.1 x 145.3 in.
Chang Dai-chien once said, “to study tradition is the single most important thing.” Fitting, as the artist first achieved fame in the Chinese art capitals of Beijing and Shanghai, by referencing Chinese art history in his painting style. He left China during the Communist take over, to travel through Asia, Europe and South America, promoting Chinese painting traditions. He eventually settled in Brazil, and starting in 1954, he began visiting California annually. Although proficient in traditional ink painting techniques, in 1962 his work became more abstracted with vivid color. Dai-chien linked this to precedents in historical Chinese painting, yet the landscapes seem to depict coastal California views. By the mid-seventies he had held several ink painting demonstrations, lectured on his technique, and received an honorary doctorate from the University of the Pacific. His high profile work has led to his reputation as the most important Chinese artist to work in twentieth century California.
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