Exhibition: November 21, 2002 - February 18,
Reception: November 21, 2002
Chang Dai-Chien (1899-1983)
is considered to be one of the most versatile and prolific masters
of traditional Chinese painting. He was a colorful figure who
resembled an ancient Chinese sage. He had a full beard, a walking
stick, and always dressed in a full-length robe.
terms of versatility, he possessed a formidable 'toolbox' of skills
and techniques. Chang was trained in painting using the traditional
Chinese method of copying the best masterworks of the past. Due
to his passion for rigorous training, he eventually mastered the
best techniques of the past 1000 years of Chinese painting. In
fact, he became so skilled at copying masterworks that few people
could distinguish the original masterworks from his copies.
Vermilion Lotuses in a Fishing Village
(1978, at age 89, mounted for framing; splashed-ink-color
on gold paper, 61.5 x 99 cm)
In his original work, he had his own
unique style, a successful synthesis of his own creativity and
the styles of past and present Chinese painters. He was one of
the few modern masters who truly mastered the 3 perfections of
traditional Chinese painting:
- Brush Painting
He became world famous when he incorporated
Western techniques in his later work. He used an abstract painting
technique of splashing ink on his paintings and created a new
'Splashed' ink painting style. Western critics raved about how
his new style liberated him from the traditions of China's past
and some even dismissed his more traditional Chinese paintings.
his splashed ink painting still retained the classical qualities
of traditional Chinese painting such as composition, calligraphy,
seals, and even objects painted in the traditional manner. Wang
Cha, a painter of the Tang dynasty also had a technique of splashing
ink on paintings.
Chang painted 30,000 paintings in his lifetime. 5000 paintings
still survive today.
Dai-Chien's philosophy of Chinese painting:
||The beginner should learn the rules
and methods by means of mastering the technique of defining
the contour lines.
||The painter should understand the
nature of his subject, observe its form and attitude, and
identify himself with its feelings.
|Whether it be human
figures, stories, landscape, or flowers, or bamboo, there
should be a lofty underlying meaning, however, insignificant
the subject may be.
||Creating the Proper
||The painter should
strive for new ideas and discard shabby and hack-eyed ones.
||Seeking after the
||The painter should
read books, cultivate his nature and remove
himself from what is earthly and vulgar.
||Craving for nobleness
of style and dispensing with superfluous brush-work.
to play second fiddle to rhythmic vitality.
||Capture the spirit
at the expense of appearance, so long as it does not go against
the fundamental aesthetic principles.
||Let the Brush be Relaxed
and the Heart be at Ease
|| Let the brush be
relaxed and the heart be at ease and guard against showing
off one's own talent or giving reins to one's temperament.
||While emulating the
old masters, one must go through a metamorphosis, instead
of resorting to duplicating or pirating.
of Chang Dai-Chien
||Born May 19, at Neikiang, Szechwan
Attends Ch'iu-ching School in Chungking, Szechwan.
||Captured by bandits. Kept as the
bandit chief's secretary. Escapes after one hundred days
||Joins his brother Shan-tze in Kyoto,
Japan. Learns drawing and dyeing.
||Goes to Shanghai. Studies with
the famous scholar Tseng Hsi. Becomes a novice in a Buddhist
monastery at Sungkiang and is given the name Ta-ch'ien. Returns
to Szechwan and marries three months later. Returns to Shanghai
to study calligraphy with Li Jui-ch'ing.
||Li Jui-ch'ing dies. Returns to
||Goes back to Shanghai.
||Lives with Shan-tze in Sung Kiang
||Elected as a member of the Committee
of the First National Exhibition of Fine Arts in Nanking.
||His teacher, Tseng Hsi, dies.
||Journeys to the Huang Shan in Anhwei
Province. Appointed as a delegate to the Exhibition in Japan
of the Arts of the T'ang, Sung, Yuan, and Ming dynasties.
||Settles in Soochow with his brother
and their families.
||Lives on the shores of Lake K'un-ming
near Peiping. Participates in the Paris Exhibition of Chinese
Paintings a the Musee du Jeu-de-Paume. The "Lotus"
is purchased by the Museum.
||Exhibits in Peiping. Visits the
Hua Shan in Kiangsu Province and Japan.
||Exhibits in Peiping. Visits the
Lung-men caves in Honan, Hua Shan and Sian. First show in
the Exhibition of Contemporary Chinese Paintings at Burlington
||Mother dies. Teaches at Central
University, Nanking. Exhibition in Shanghai.
||In Peiping, at the outbreak of
the Sino-Japanese War, forced to remain in the city by the
||Escapes to Szechwan.
||Lives with family in Ch'ing-ch'eng
Mountains, near Cheng-tu, Szechwan. Visits Mount Omei and
the Chien-men Mountain Pass in Szechwan. Exhibits in Chung
||His brother, Shan-tze, dies. Visits
Tun-huang Caves in Kansu. Remains in Tun-huang for two and
a half years copying more than two hundred of the caves' frescoes.
Exhibits in Chungking.
||Returns to Cheng tu, Szechwan.
Exhibits his new works there.
||Exhibits copies of cave frescoes
in Cheng-tu in January and in Chungking in May. His subjects
are published in two volumes with critical studies
||Completed "Giant Lotuses",
on four panels, and "A Gathering in the West Garden",
on eight panels. Exhibitions of his paintings in Cheng Tu.
||Visits Peiping. Exhibition in Shanghai.
Group of works included in Contemporary Chinese Painting Exhibition
at Musee Cernuschi, Paris. Participates in UNESCO Exhibition
of Contemporary Painting at Musee d'Art Moderne, Paris; Chinese
section later invited to London, Geneva, and Prague.
||Exhibits in Shanghai. Twelve of
his Tun-huang frescoes published in color.
||Travels and exhibits in Hong Kong.
||First visit to Taipei, Tawain.
||Exhibits in New Delhi and Hyderabad,
India. Stays over a year in India, spending three months in
the caves of Ajanta. Exhibits in Hong Kong
||Moves family to Argentina. Settles
in Mendoza. Exhibits paintings in Buenos Aires.
||Visits the United States and Taipei.
Exhibits his paintings in Taipei. Presents twelve works to
the municipality of Paris.
Moves from Mendoza to Mogi, near Sao Paulo,
||Publishes five volumes
of reproductions from his private collection, entitled 'Materpieces
of Chinese Painting in the Colllection of the Ta Feng Hall',
in Tokyo. Exhibits in Tokyo.
||Exhibits at the Musee
d'Art Moderne, Paris. Visits Europe for the first time, staying
mainly in Rome and Paris. Exhibits his copies of Tun-huang
cave frescoes in Tokyo.
||Returns to Sao Paulo by way of
Hong Kong and Japan.
||Awarded gold medal by the International
Council of Fine Arts in New York.
||Exhibits recent paintings in the
Grande Salle d'Honneur at the National Salon in Paris. Exhibition
of thirty of his paintings at the Musee Royald' Art et d'
Histoire, Brussels, in May; at the Parnassus Hall in Athens,
and at El Circulo de Bellas Artes in Madrid in November
Exhibits thirty paintings at the Musee Municipal
d'Art et D'Histoire, Geneva. Visits St. Moritz and Walensee.
Exhibition of "giant Lotuses" at Musee Cernuschi.
Museum of Modern Art in New York acquires a Lotus painting.
Participates in the Quadricentennial International Art Exhibition
in Sao Paulo.
The book, "Chinese Painting, Chang Dai-chien",
edited by Kao Ling-mei in Hong Kong is published. Exhibits
for the inauguration of the City Hall Museum of Hong Kong.
||In October, exhibits in New York,
sell his "Giant Lotuses ". Exhibition in Singapore,
Kula Lumpur, Iph, and Penang.
||Exhibits in Thailand. Lufthansa
Airlines sponsors exhibitions in various cities in West Germany.
||First one-man show at Grosvenor
Gallery in London.
Exhibition in Sao Paulo in April and in Hong
Kong in December.
||Exhibition in Stanford University
Museum in California, Laky Gallery in Carmel, California and
National Museum of History in Taipei.
||Visits Taipei and Kinmen(Quemoy).
Honorary Doctorate degree conferred by the College of the
Chinese Culture in Taiwan. Delivers speech on Chinese Art
at Princeton University, New Jersey. Paints "The Great
Yangtze River". Exhibits in National Museum of History,
Taipei, Frank Caro Gallery in New York, S.H. Mori Gallery
in Chicago, and Alberts-Langdon Gallery in Boston. Purchases
home in Carmel.
||Exhibitions in National Palace
Museum, Taipei (a special exhibition featuring paintings after
the wall paintings at Tun-huang), Cowie Galleries in Los Angeles,
New York Cultural Center in New York, St. John's University
in New York, Frank Caro Gallery in New York and Alberts-Langdon
Gallery in Boston. Family members move to Carmel,
Exhibits in Laky Gallery, Carmel.
||Exhibits in Exhibition Hall, City
Hall of Hong Kong.
||Exhibits in San Francisco, Asian
||Paintings exhibited at the Chu-O
Fine Arts Museum, Tokyo, under the auspices of the Joint Sino-Japanese
Cultural Association of Japan and the National Museum of History,
Exhibition of his early period works a the
National Museum of History, Taipei. Eighty of his works
of thre decades shown in the "Exhibiton of Paintings
by Famous Chinese and Western Painters," National Museum
of History, Taipei.
Sixty of his works shown in an exhibition
of contemporary paintings from the Republic of China at
the National Museum of Modern Art, Seoul, under the auspices
of the Sino-Korean Art Association of Korea and the National
Museum of History, Taipei.
Homecoming exhibition of his paintings held
at the National Museum of Hsitory, Taipei. During the opening
cermonies, presented with a horizontal tablet bearing the
four-character inscription "Master Before Arts's Altar"
by the Minister of Education, His Excellency, Dr. Tsiang
The book, "Chang Dai-Chien's Paintings,
volume 2," edited and published by the National Museum
of Hsitory, Taipei .
Moves to Taiwan.
||Begins painting "Panarama
of Mount Lu" painting, a monumental painting (6.6 x 33ft)
that remains unfinished.
Zhang, Daqian, 'Zhang, Daqian,' Taibei Shi : Zhonghua, 1976,
Dai-chien in California (Biography)
Art and Life of Chang Dai-chien (Biography)
Philosophy on the art of painting
Dai-Chien Web Site