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 Zu Ming Ho  (1949 - )

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Lived/Active: California / China      Known for: impressionist portrait and figure painting

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This biography from the Archives of AskART:

Zu Ming Ho was born in 1949 into a remarable family that had already produced several well-known artists.  He began taking lessons in both Chinese and Western style figure sketching, watercolors and landscape painting while still in elementary school.  Like many members of the emerging Yunnan School, he had hoped to enlighten the Chinese people with his uniquely westernized versions of traditional Chinese themes. 

The Red Chinese authorities were not amused or enlightened; when the cultural revolution swept over China in 1966, it swept away everything western or different.  Along with many contemporary artists of his day, Ho was required to paint only portraits of Mao Tse Tung, and propaganda posters depicting the struggles of the working class.  When he continued to paint images in his own style, Ho was taken away by the Red Guard and placed in a forced labor camp.  Many of his paintings were destroyed or vandalized.   

For the next ten years, Ho was put to work on a road-building crew breaking rocks.  Although they tried to break his spirit by depriving him of his art, he kept his dream alive by visualizing and memorizing images in his mind.  His professional career and high education were smashed by an unsurmountable foe: the People's Republic.  His reward came in 1976, when the political climate in China mellowed and Ho was released and allowed to resume his formal education.  In the years that followed he graduated with honors from the Shanghai Drama Institute Department of Fine Arts, majoring in oil painting.  He served a term as the Vice Chancellor of Jia Zhou Institute of Paintings.  In 1987 he came to the United States on a student visa under the name of Richard Ho.

Written and compiled by Jean Ershler Schatz, artist and researcher from Laguna Woods, California.

Biography from SIGFine Art-Dorog Gallery:
Richard Zu Ming Ho is a figurative impressionist who focuses on beauty with a lyrical style.  Greatly influenced by such French masters as Degas, Manet and Renoir, as well as American masters Sargent and Whistler, Ho has created his own style some say is “as fine as a poem, not merely a picture.”

Richard Ho was born in China in 1949.  By his teens he was already accomplished in drawing, watercolor, still life, landscape, calligraphy, traditional Chinese painting, and figure painting in the “western” style.  But it was this last nod toward western art that landed Ho in a forced labor camp.  For the next ten years the communist regime tried to break Ho’s spirit by depriving him of his art.  But he kept his dream alive by visualizing paintings and memorizing images and hoping that, someday, he would be able to put them on canvas or paper.

Ho’s dream was realized in 1987 when he immigrated to the United States.  Free to follow his talent, he began creating pieces rich with meaning and elegance.  Today he combines a gentle touch with vivid color to produce works that uniquely celebrate the grace of the human body and the intimacy of our relationship with nature and the universe.

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