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Virtual Asian-American Art Museum Project

Alexei Taylor, Author

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Yang Ling-fu

1888 Wuxi, Jiangsu, China
1978 Carmel, California, USA
1888: China
1934: Asia, Europe and Canada
1938-1978: Berkeley, Monterey and Carmel, CA
Selected work:
Portrait of the Empress Dowager Tz’u-hsi,
Quarrelling Birds,
Fish and Kingfisher,
Brown, Michael. Views from Asian California, 1920-1965: an illustrated history. San Francisco, Calif.: M. Brown, 1992.
At the turn of the century in China it was uncommon for a woman to have an artistic career, let alone be offered renowned commissions from famous patrons. Besides earning the honor of completing formal portraits of emperors, empresses and public officials, Yang Ling-fu also went on to become the president of the Art College in Harbin, Manchuria. She fled to Europe after the Japanese invasion, and while living in Berlin she was introduced to Hitler, who commissioned work from her. She presented a painting of quarrelling birds, accompanied by calligraphy, which when translated was titled To The Warlords and had a strong anti-war moral.
Soon after, Ling-fu moved to California where she worked teaching Chinese painting, language and culinary classes. Her work blends Western realism with the linear quality of ink paintings. Her later works feature lengthy calligraphies and continue to blend Western motifs with traditional Chinese inspiration.
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