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 Daqian Zhang  (1899 - 1983)

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Lived/Active: China/United States      Known for: landscape painting

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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.

"Zhang Daqian (1899-1983) casts a long shadow over the modern history of Chinese painting. As a painter, he was known for his singular ability to mix traditional techniques and styles with contemporary ideas and currents.  As a collector, he accumulated important examples from all genres of Chinese painting and left behind copious seals and inscriptions.  As a forger, Zhang so mastered the art of deception that his fakes were purchased unwittingly by nearly every major art museum in the United States—the MFA included.  Indeed, the first question asked by experts when a work is considered suspect is: “Could this be by Zhang Daqian?”

Quoted from: Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
Zhang Daqian: Painter, Collector, Forger
Saturday, December 15, 2007 - Sunday, September 14, 2008

Born in a family of artists in Neijiang, Sichuan, China, he studied textile dyeing techniques in Kyoto, Japan and returned to establish a successful career selling his paintings in Shanghai.  A staunch supporter of the Kuomintang, he left China in 1948 and moved to Mogi das Cruzes, Brazil, and then to Carmel, California, before finally settling in Taipei, Taiwan.

Sullivan, Michael (2006). Modern Chinese artists : a biographical dictionary. Berkeley, California: University of California Press


Biography from Kingsley Art Auction:
Please note: Artists not classified as American in our database may have limited biographical data compared to the extensive information about American artists.

Chang Dai-Chien was a native of Nei-Chiang, Sichuan.  His original given name Chuan was later changed to Yuan, while his childhood name Chi was later incorporated into his studio name Chi-yuan.  At the age of 21 he studied under Tseng Hsi and Li Jui-Ching.  Taking Shih Tao and Pa-ta Shan-jen as his starting point, he sought out as many paintings by famous artists of past centuries as he could to copy.  Beginning with an impressionistic style and progressing to meticulous brushwork, he developed the ability to move between these techniques with complete master.  In 1941 he traveled to Dun Huang where he spent two years and seven months copying wall paintings.  Here he studied traditional coloration and line drawing methods, being particularly moved by the grand scale and complex layout of the high Tang style.  The sumptuous splendor of high Tang art inspired him with the desire to create great art.

Besides copying from old masters, Chang Dai-Chien was also expert at painting from life.  In his later years, he combined splashed ink and splashed color with the masterly texture strokes and liberation of his early years to form a new synthesis.  Hovering between concrete and abstract, reveling in freedom and unpredictability, Chang Dai-Chien's work created a whole new style of modern Chinese painting.

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