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 Yi-Hsiung Chang  (1914 - )

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Lived/Active: Japan/France/Taiwan, Province of China      Known for: drawing, painting, teaching

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Ad Code: 3
AskART Artist
from Auction House Records.
The Head of a Cow
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Please note: Artists not classified as American in our database may have limited biographical data compared to the extensive information about American artists.

CHANG Yi-Hshiung was born in Chia-yi City,Taiwan in 1914.  At an early age he was inspired by the legendary CHEN Cheng-po (1895-1947) and was determined to pursue a lifelong painting career.  At age fourteen, Chang left for Japan.  From 1928 to 1940, he studied at Teikoku School (now Musashino University), Kansai Art School, and Kawabata Art School. 

Following the bombardment of Tokyo during World War II, he left for Beijing in 1944. The next year his fiancée, CHIANG Pao-chu, joined him in Beijing and they were married. In 1946 the couple returned to Taiwan from Beijing.  Between 1948 and 1949, Chang taught painting at Taiwan Normal College (now Taiwan Normal University). It was during this time that he received critical acclaim, placing first in the most prestigious competitions in Taiwan. 

In 1954, Chang joined five other equally passionate artist friends to form the "Epoch Art Association"—a ground-breaking organization at the time due to its anti-establishment connotations.*  As the name suggested, the founding members sensed it would be their mission to create a new art epoch in Taiwan by searching for and exhibiting their own styles, that were shaped by their life experiences and that could reflect the emotions of the Taiwanese people. 

In 1962, Chang had his first solo exhibition at the Chung-shan Hall inTaipei, at age forty-eight. In 1964, he planned to go to Paris. Instead, he and his family found themselves in Japan, almost penniless.  Undeterred by a string of financial misfortunes, he continued to paint in spite of living in humbled conditions. 

His paintings, often portrayals of disadvantaged, real people and lonely scenes, reflected his gloomy state of mind and the enormous pressure he was under to provide a living for his family.  This interval, however, also showed his will of steel and extraordinary compassion for life, and is referred to as his "Black Line Period."

In 1977, Chang became a brokered artist at the Tai Chi Gallery in Taipei and began to come out of the shadow of poverty.  Between 1974 and 1979, Chang traveled to Paris three times. In 1980, at age sixty-six, he decided to move to Paris. His paintings were exhibited in the autumn and spring Salons that year and won Honorable Mentions.  In 1981, he held a solo exhibition in Paris and exhibited at the autumn Salon, then again in 1983 and 1985. 

His European experience enabled him to appreciate the fortune and sweetness of life. He breathed the air of creative freedom, indulged himself artistically, and admired the masterpieces of Paul Gauguin, Henri Matisse, Picasso, and Paul Cezanne.  In contrast to his early works expressing the harsh side of life and anti-authoritarian sentiments, Chang’s paintings in Paris displayed much softer and gentler tones.  This is known as his "White Period."  In 1988 he was inducted as a member (sociétaire) of the autumn Salon, the first Taiwanese artist ever to receive such an honor.  He exhibited again in the 2001 autumn Salon and won an award for his multi-media work Zero

In 2004, the National History Museum of Taiwan hosted a retrospective exhibition to celebrate Chang's ninetieth birthday.  He has outlived most of his local contemporaries and is still active as an artist.  His art is so central to his identity that he even thought of hanging himself after believing (for a short while) that he had run out of inspiration as an artist. Ironically, the idea of committing suicide inspired his award-winning multi-media work Zero at the 2001 autumn Salon.

Chang Yi-Hsiung is a listed artist, his works having appeared in Christie's and Sotheby's auctions.  He now lives and works in Tokyo, Japan

"Chang Yi-Hsiung", Art Touch Collection, // (Accessed 12/29/2013)

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