Find, Learn, Price Art
Enjoy the comprehensive art database we've compiled since 1987
Membership Details
Images, sales charts, bios, signatures, 30 artist Alerts and more ...
Art auction records:  Millions of references for pricing research
Or, register for Free Alerts
To track 10 artists.

Already a member?  Sign in here

Xiaogang Zhang

 (born 1958)
Xiaogang Zhang is active/lives in China.  Xiaogang Zhang is known for realist, surrealist portrait and figure painting.

Xiaogang Zhang

Biography from the Archives of askART

Zhang Xiaogang (1958-)

Born in Kunming, Yunnan province, he lives and works in Beijing.

Inspired by family photographs from the Cultural Revolution period, as well as the European tradition of Surrealism, Zhang's paintings explore the notion of personal identity in a culture of collectivism.  Often painted in black and white with splotches of color, his subjects are nameless and timeless, with elements of exaggerated animation and stoic expressions. 

Selected solo Exhibitions:
2000  Max Protetch Gallery, New York
1999  Galerie de France, Paris
1989  Sichuan Academy of Fine Arts, Chongqing

Selected Group Exhibitions:
2002-03  1st Guangzhou Triennale, Guangdong Museum of Art, Guangzhou

2002  Chinese Modernity, Armandao Alvares Penteado Foundation, Sao Paulo
Image is Power,He Xiangning Art Museum,Shenzhen
Paris-Pekin, Espace Cardin,Paris
CHINaRT Museum Kuppersmuhle,Duisburg

2001  The Initial Image: Contemporary Art on Paper, Yibo Gallery, Shanghai
Hot Pot, Kunstnemes Hus, Oslo
Towards a New Image, 20 Years of Contemporary Chinese Painting, National Gallery, Beijing,then Shanghai Art Museum, Sichuan Province Art Museum, Chengdu and Art Museum of Guangdong Province, Guangzhou
Passe-murailles, Musee de Picardie, Amiens
Rouges, Galerie Loft, Paris
C'est Moi, C'est Nous, Galerie de France, Paris

2000  Portraits de Chine Contemporaine, Espace Culturel F. Mitterand, Perigueux
Futuro, Contemporary Art Centre of Macau
Kwangju Biennial, Kwangju, Korea
The Dutch Gasunie, Groningen, Holland
The Chengdu Movement, Canvas International Art, Amsterdam

1998-2000  Inside Out, Asia Society, New York, MoMA San Francisco, Seattle, Monterey

1997-98  8+8-1, Selected Paintings by 15 Contemporary Artists, Schoeni Gallery, Hong Kong
Avant Garde Chinese Artists, Soobin Gallery, Singapore
China Now, Kulturprojekte, Basel
Faces and Bodies of the Middle Kingdom, Chinese Art of the Nineties, Gallery Rudolfinum, Prague
Awarded Coutts Art Foundation Award

1996-97  CHINA! Kunstmuseum, Bonn, traveled to Vienna, Singapore, Copenhagen and Warsaw
4 Points de Rencontre: Chine 1996, Galerie de France, Paris

1996  Asia Pacific Triennial, Australia
Reckoning with the Past, Fruitmarket Gallery, Edinburgh

1995  46th Venice Biennale, Venice
Avant Gardes Artistiques Xineses, Centre d'Art Santa Monica, Barcelona

1994 22nd International Biennial of Sao Paulo, Sao Paulo, Brazil

1993  New Art from China: Post-1989, Marlborough Gallery, London
Chinese Fine Art in the 1990s: Experiences of China, Chengdu
Mao Goes Pop, Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney

1992  Guangzhou Biannual, Guangzhou

1991  I Don't Want to Play Cards with Cezanne, Asia Pacific Art Museum, California

1989  China Avant Garde, China National Gallery, Beijing

Sources include:
Saatchi Gallery

Biography from Tobin Reese Fine Art
Zhang Xiaogang (1958-) is a contemporary Chinese painter operating in the symbolist and surrealist styles.

Zhang was born in Kunming, Yunnan Province, China. His mother taught him how to draw at an early age. During the Cultural Revolution, his parents were taken to labor camps by the Chinese government. In 1972, Zhang himself was sent to work on a farm as part of a government program. He met watercolor painter Lin Ling who trained Zhang in 1975 during their free time. With the Cultural Revolution gone after the death of Chairman Mao Zedong in 1976, Zhang was free to pursue art. In 1977, he was accepted into the Sichuan Academy of Fine Arts; he began training in oil paintings there in 1978. While the professors at the academy were still caught up in the ideology of the Cultural Revolution, Zhang and his peers turned to western thought to find artistic inspiration. He graduated from the academy in 1982.

Although Zhang's work showed promise, he was unable to find work in the art field upon graduation, leading to a period of depression and alcoholism. Although ultimately bad for him, this period did fuel his passion for expressing his emotions in art. With the advent of the New Wave Movement in 1985, Zhang emerged from his depression and found support in a community emerging from the ravages of the Cultural Revolution. He helped found the South West Art Group in 1986, a group which put on exhibitions of art which would lead to an Avant-Garde revolution in Chinese art. He was finally rewarded for his passion and dedication to art when he accepted a position as an instructor at his alma mater in 1988.

Disheartened by the events of the June Fourth Massacre in Tiananmen Square, he headed to Germany in 1992 in order to gain a new perspective on art. He left Germany shortly thereafter with a new appreciation for representing traditional Chinese artwork in contemporary ways, leading him to find old family photos. These photos led him to explore the representation of a photograph in a painted form, a technique which would come to dominate his art.

Ian Martyn for Tobin Reese Fine Art

** If you discover credit omissions or have additional information to add, please let us know at

Share an image of the Artist

  Full access to biographies is
  free each Friday

About  Xiaogang Zhang

Born:  1958 - Kunming, Yunnan province, China
Known for:  realist, surrealist portrait and figure painting