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Virtual Asian-American Art Museum Project

Alexei Taylor, Author

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Chen Chi-kwan

1921 Beijing

2009 San Francisco, CA

1923: Nanchang, Jiangxi
1925: Beiping
1929: Nanjing
1949: University of Illinois
1950: University of California, Los Angeles
2005: San Francisco, CA

1944: Bachelor of Architecture Engineering, National Central University, Chongqin, Sichuan
1949: Master of Science in Architecture, University of Illinois
1950: Studied oil painting, ceramics, interior and industrial design, University of California, Los Angeles.
1958: Completed the first stage of design and construction at Tunghai University

Selected Works:
Slave, 1967. Ink and colors on paper, 33 x 33 cm, Collection of the artist's family
Less is More, 1977. Lithograph, 32 x 62 cm, Collection of the artist's family
Clear Day, 1990. Ink and colors on paper, 30 x 61 cm, Collection of the artist's family

Artist Bibliography:

Painting and Architecture of Chen Chi-kwan. Taiwan: Taipei Fine Arts Museum, 2003.
Chen Chi-kwan, The Mind’s Eye: Commemorating the 90th Anniversary of His Birth. Taipei: National Palace Museum, 2009.
Kung-shang, Ho, ed. Chen Chi Kwan Paintings 1940-1980. Taipei: Art Book Co., Ltd., 1981.
Chen Chi-kwan: Chinesische Malerei. Berlin: Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, 1996.
A Retrospective of Chen Chi-kwan at Eighty. Taipei: Art Museum of China, 2000.


As a youth in Beijing, Chen Chi Kwan witnessed the launch of the War of Resistance against Japan. His family was forced to move several times as a result of the war. Finally settling in Chongqing, Sichuan Province, Kwan went on to study architecture at Central University. During World War II he served as an interpreter in the China-India-Burma Theater, and once the war ended he returned to settle in Taiwan permanently. He soon completed one of his greatest architectural accomplishments single-handedly overseeing the design of the Luce Memorial Chapel at Tunghai University. Chen Chi-kwan uses a uniquely Western perspective to revolutionize traditional Chinese painting, employing his architectural eye within his art. He combined abstract concepts and monochrome ink to endow Chinese ink painting with modern style. Kwan’s incorporation of architectural lines and minimal use of color inspires the viewer to focus on an evaluation of forms and special composition.
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