Hon Chi-fun

1922-2019, Hong Kong


Born in Hong Kong in 1922, and one of Hong Kong’s most iconic artists, Hon Chi-fun, is a self-taught artist who began painting in the 1950s. From an early age he practiced calligraphy and brush work with his siblings on stone slabs. By 1956, he had devoted himself to his art, while working at the Hong Kong General Post Office. It was during this period that he began to study Western art movements and became associated with two other famed Hong Kong artists, Luis Chan and Lui Shou-kwan. In 1964, he co-founded the Circle Art Group (1964-1971), and that same year was awarded the Gold Medal at the Third Hong Kong International Salon of Paintings. After the completion of his definitive work Bath of Fire (1968), a set of three oil and screen prints on canvas, he began his first grand tour of Europe. He visited the Venice Biennale in Italy and Documenta in Germany. In 1969, he was awarded the John D. Rockefeller III Fellowship Fund, and lived in New York for a year, after which he toured South America and India. These experiences abroad and the direct contact with a myriad of artistic traditions served to expand his aesthetic knowledge. Known for his paintings of circles, Hon once declared: “The circle is me.”

When asked to reminisce about the gallery, Hon said that “I remember that it was one morning during the early 1980s when Alice came to visit our studio for the first time. At the time, it was rare that a person of Chinese ethnicity knew how to promote Hong Kong modern art, [and] Mrs. King was [the exception] and a pioneer. She has discovered important artists, who might have otherwise have been forgotten, such as overseas women artists from the early years.” Alisan Fine Arts began showing his work in 1983, and since then has held two solo exhibitions for the artist, in 2000 and 2005 respectively.

Major retrospectives of Hon’s work have been held in 1999 by the University Museum and Art Gallery of the University of Hong Kong, in 2005 at the Hong Kong Museum of Art, and in 2007 at the CityU Gallery at the City University of Hong Kong. His works have been collected by Hong Kong Museum of Art; Hong Kong Heritage Museum; University of Hong Kong; Hong Kong Land; Hong Kong MTR Corporation; Deutsche Bank, Hong Kong; National City Bank of Chicago, United States. In the lobby of Jardine House, Hong Kong, hangs a monumental mural-size painting, titled The Making of the Spheres Series (1988), by Hon.


1922 Born in Hong Kong
1941 Graduated from Wah Yan College, Hong Kong
1956 Worked at the Hong Kong general Post Office, Hong Kong. He joined the Chinese Contemporary Artist’s Guild, Hong Kong
1964 Gold medal winner in the 3rd Hong Kong International Salon of Paintings
1965 Co-Founded the Circle Art Group (1964-1971), with seven painters and sculptors, Hong Kong
1966 First edition of silk screen prints Lotus Image published
1968 Completed his definitive work Bath of Fire
Visited the Venice Biennale, Italy; Documenta, Germany
Taught at Department of Extra Mural Studies, The University of Hong Kong
1969 First Hong Kong awardee of the JDR III Fund Fellowship
Studied lithography and etching at Pratt Graphic Center, New York, USA
1970 Visited South America
1972 Resigned from Hong Kong Post Office
Visited Henry Moore in Much hadham, UK; Zao Wou-ki in Paris, France
Travelled India  
1973-76 Travelled USA for six months every year, attended lectures by Motherwell, Allen Kaprow
Visited Mainland China
1976 Murals commissioned for the Hong Kong Convention & Exhibition Centre
1978 Travelled Mount Lu and met famous Chinese artists including Zhu Qizhan, Lu Yanshao, Cheng Shifa
1989 Murals commissioned for Jardine House, Hong Kong and for the Hong Kong Exhibition and Convention Centre. Documentary film Hon’s Orbit produced by Hong Kong Museum of Art
1992 Moves to Canada
1993 Last edition of silkscreen Time and New Height produced
1999 Documentary film Hon’s Art of Serigraphy produced by Hong Kong Heritage Museum
2000 Returns to Hong Kong with family. Seizure of stroke. Published catalogue Space and Passion: The Art of Hon Chi-fun, Hong Kong
2013 Awarded Medal of Honour by the Government of the Hong Kong SAR
2019 Passed away in Hong Kong

Selected Solo Exhibitions

  • A Story of Light: Hon Chi-fun, Asia Society Hong Kong Centre, Hong Kong   


  • Hon Chi-fun: Early Landscapes on Board, University Museum and Art Gallery of the University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong
  • Hon Chin-fun's Perspective @ 91, Hongkong Land and the Asian Cultural Council, the Rotunda Exchange Square, Hong Kong


  • Conceptual Feeling beyond ImagesThe Works of Hon Chi-fun, CityU Gallery, City University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong  



  • Space and Passion: The Art of Hon Chi-fun, Alisan Fine Arts, Hong Kong


  • Recent Journeys and Interludes: Paintings by Hon Chi-fun, University Museum and Art Gallery, The University of Hong Kong


  • Hong Kong Art: An Introduction in Toronto, Metro Toronto Convention Centre, Toronto, Canada


  • Over and Yonder: Paintings by Hon Chi-fun, University Museum and Art Gallery, The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong


  • Exhibition of Painting by Hon Chi-fun, Hong Kong Arts Centre, Hong Kong


  • American Library, Hong Kong


  • Solo Exhibition of Silkscreen Prints, Extramural Studies Department, Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong


  • City Museum & Art Gallery, Hong Kong


  • City Hall, Hong Kong


  • Willard Gallery, New York, USA


  • American Library, Hong Kong

1963, 65

  • Chatham Galleries, Hong Kong  

Selected Group Exhibitions


  • Individuals, Networks, Expressions, South Galleries, M+, Hong Kong

  • The Cabinet, Cabinet exhibition space, M+, Hong Kong


  • NOT A Fashion Store!, Hong Kong Museum of Art, Hong Kong



  • Hong Kong Experience • Hong Kong Experiment, Hong Kong Museum of Art, Hong Kong 




  • Legacy & Creations: Ink Art vs Ink Art, Shanghai Art Museum, Shanghai, China





  • Galerie Art East / Art West, Hamburg, Germany


  • Contemporary Vision of Three Hong Kong Artists: Hon Chi-fun, Leung Kui-ting, Wong Cheung, Alisan Fine Arts, Hong Kong


  • Hong Kong Contemporary Prints by Chinese Artists, Hong Kong Museum of Art, Hong Kong


  • Contemporary Hong Kong ArtHong Kong Museum of Art, Hong Kong


  • Hong Kong Art Today, travelling exhibition to four UK cities


  • 19th National Print Exhibition, Brooklyn Museum, New York, USA
  • 2nd British International Print Biennial, Bradford, UK
  • 1st International Print Biennal Exhibition, Seoul, South Korea


  • Circle Group show, City Museum & Art Gallery, Hong Kong


  • Music & Fine Arts Festival, City Museum & Art Gallery, Hong Kong
  • Three Chinese Artists from Hong Kong and Taiwan: Hon Chi-fun, Jackson Yu, Chuang Che, First National City Bank, New York, USA


  • Chatham Galleries, Hong Kong
  • Fairleigh Dickinson University, New Jersey, USA
  • Circle Group Show, Manila, Philippines


  • Contemporary Art in Asiatravelling exhibition in South East Asia


  • 3rd International Salon of Paintings, Hong Kong


  • City Hall Inaugural Group Show: Hong Kong Art TodayCity Museum & Art Gallery, Hong Kong


  • 1st Hong Kong Arts Festival Group Exhibition, artists include Lui Shou-kwan, Kwong Yeu-ting, Star Ferry, Hong Kong

Selected Public Collections
National City Bank of Chicago, Chicago, USA 

Hong Kong Museum of Art, Hong Kong
M+, Hong Kong               

Hong Kong Heritage Museum, Hong Kong                  

The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong        

Hongkong Land Property Company Ltd, Hong Kong        

Hong Kong NWS Holdings Ltd, Hong Kong                

Hong Kong MTR Corporation, Hong Kong               

British Amercian Tobacco Hong Kong Ltd, Hong Kong  

Deutsche Bank, Hong Kong              

Wing On Bank Ltd, Hong Kong        

Lehman Brothers, Hong Kong