Art of the Week

Chiang Chaoshen (1925-96)
Untitled, 1980
Ink and color on paper, 189 x 94 cm.

Born in China’s Anhui Province in 1925 to a family from the literati class, Chiang received a well-rounded education in the traditional scholastic arts, ranging from poetry composition to painting. After relocating to Taiwan in 1949, he received instruction from the literati master and imperial descendant Pu Hsin-yu, exhibited works privately, was noticed for his command of the Chinese artistic tradition and subsequently drafted onto the staff of the National Palace Museum. He retired as a deputy director in 1991 and died in 1996. Chiang Chao-shen, former Deputy Director at the National Palace Museum and born in 1925, suddenly passed away while presenting a lecture at the Lu Xun Academy of Fine Arts in Shenyang on May 12, 1996.

Highly regarded for his diligence in mastering all aspects of the tradition that he had inherited, Chiang was no mere imitator. His paintings, while essentially classical in form, have a freshness and modernity about them. The impression is not so much of an artist trying to innovate, but of a man devoted to his art and absorbing contemporary influences from the world around him. Many of his paintings were inspired by Chiang’s travels through China. Having studied under the guidance of the famous literati artist Pu Ru, and carried out research on two Ming artists, Tang Yin and Wen Zhengming, when he was research fellow at the National Palace Museum in Taipei in 1967, Chiang amassed a substantial knowledge and mastery of traditional Chinese ink painting. Chiang Chaoshen’s works reveal a rare synergy of classical elegance, rigorous technique and robust individuality that has brought new vitality to the literati painting tradition.

Chiang was not only renowned both domestically and internationally as a historian of Chinese art, he was also held in exceptionally high regard for his outstanding achievements in painting, calligraphy, and seal carving. After retiring from the National Palace Museum in September of 1991, he went to live at his “Qishe Garden” in Puli, Nantou County. Diligent in his art, he held major exhibitions of painting and calligraphy at such venues as the Taipei Fine Arts Museum, the National Art Museum of China in Beijing, and the Huangshan Municipal Museum in Anhui Province.

Chiang Shao-Shen: Selections of His Works of Art. Yun-Kang Culture Publishing, 1979 (ASIN B008B1KMC6)