Chao Chung-hsiang

1910-1991, Henan China


In her introduction to Chao Chung-Hsiang, the second catalogue the gallery produced for the artist, Alice King noted “to Chao, painting was not merely a pictorial representation but a continuous thought process related to one’s spiritual well-being and outlook on life. He worked tirelessly to ensure that contemporary Chinese painting would become part of the mainstream and not a mere tributary of Western art.”

Like Zao Wou-Ki, Chu Teh-Chun and Wu Guanzhong, Chao studied under the renowned artist Lin Fengmian at the National Institute of Art, Hangzhou (currently the China Academy of Art) before graduating in 1939. In 1948, he immigrated to Taiwan, and in 1956 won a fellowship to study in Spain. He toured Paris and Europe, before settling in New York in 1958, where he remained for most his life. There he discovered for himself American Abstract Expressionist art, which inspired him to work conscientiously to achieve a synthesis of East and West. The main subjects of Chao's work are flowers and fish, birds, the cosmos and abstraction. From the 1970s, Yin-Yang symbols and hexagrams derived from the ancient Chinese divination text I-Ching began appearing in his paintings, referencing Buddhism, Taoism, and Confucianism. In his paintings, blocks of dazzling fluorescent colour sporadically float upon expressive images rendered in rich ink washes. After more than thirty years in New York City, he moved to Hong Kong in 1989, then to Chengdu, and finally to Taiwan. He passed away in 1991, at the age of eighty-one.

In 1972, Chao won the New York Creative Artists Public Service Program Award. From 1997-99 his works were exhibited in the important travelling group exhibition Asian Traditions/Modern Expressions, organised by the Jane Voorhees Zimmerli Art Museum, Rutgers University. His work was also included in the exhibition China: 5,000 Years held at the Guggenheim Museum in 1998.

Alisan Fine Arts began representing Chao in 1985 and has organised four major solo exhibitions for him since 1992, including two travelling shows, in 1999 at the Zhejiang West Lake Art Museum; Hong Kong Arts Centre; Alisan Fine Arts; Club 21 Gallery in Singapore, in 2004 at National Museum of History, Taipei; National Art Museum of China, Beijing; Shanghai Art Museum; Galerie Adler, Paris; Hong Kong Arts Centre. Chao’s works have been frequently exhibited at internationally renowned museums, including at the Guggenheim Museum, Zhu Qizhan Art Museum, and Hong Kong Museum of Art. Sotheby’s Hong Kong Gallery organised a solo exhibition for him in 2014. Alisan Fine Arts manages the artist’s estate.

His works have been collected by the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Columbia University, New York; The Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago; National Art Museum of China, Beijing; Shanghai Art Museum, Shanghai; Zhejiang Westlake Art Museum, Hangzhou; Taipei Fine Arts Museum, Taiwan; Hong Kong Museum of Art, Hong Kong; and M+, Hong Kong.

1910 Born in Henan, China
1920 Started studying painting with his father
1932-24 Studied at the Department of Art, Henan Teachers Normal School
1935 Studied in the Department of Art, Hangzhou National College of Art (now China Academy of Art), Hangzhou, China
1937 Exhibited at the 1st National Art Exhibition of Fine Arts in Nanjing and won a prize in watercolour figure drawing
1939 Exhibited at the First National Art Exhibition of Fine Arts in Nanjing and won watercolour figure painting prize
Graduated from Hangzhou National College of Art
Joined the production of government propaganda during the Sino-Japanese War
1940 Appointed leader of painting, Northwest China Artefacts Survey Group
1941-47 Appointed Head of the Department of Fine Arts, Northwest China Training League
Art editor in Political Office of Air Force 11th wing
Left China for Taipei
1951-55 Associate Professor of Arts, National Normal University and concurrently at College of Politics and Combat, Taipei, Taiwan
1956 Received a scholarship from the Spanish Government and left Taiwan to study in Madrid
1957 Became a permanent member of the National Art Association of Spain
1958 Toured Paris and Europe for six months and left for New York, USA
1959 Won the Non-Member Award at the 92nd annual exhibition of the American Watercolour Society
Met Franz Kline, Sam Francis, Mark Rothko in New York
1972 Won the Creative Artists Public Service Program Award, New York State
Lectured at Garrison Art Centre & Russell Sage College, New York, USA
Lecture series on Comparing Eastern and Western Art, at the invitation of Maryland University, Baltimore, Maryland, USA
Selected by the Israeli Government to submit 30 works to appear in its educational film Art Around the World
1974-75 Lectured 3 times at Department of Art, City University of New York, Brooklyn, New York, USA

1980 Selected by Viyella Fabrics, New York City to provide its colour of the year
Lecture, New York State University, Albany, New York, USA
1981 Returned to exhibit in Taiwan for the first time since 1965
1984 Established a studio in Taipei 
1982-83 Visiting Professor, National Taiwan Normal University, Taipei, Taiwan

Travelled between Taipei and New York
1989 Moved from New York to Hong Kong, then to Chengdu, China, finally to Taiwan
1990 Moved from New York to Chengdu, Sichuan, China in March
Came to Hong Kong in May, where he showed his works to Professor Michael Sullivan and Laurance Tam, Curator, Hong Kong Art Museum
Settled in Miaoli, Taiwan in November
1991 Died in December in Maioli, Taiwan 



  • The Planet at a Distance: Chao Chung-Hsiang, Asia University Museum of Modern Art, Taichung, Taiwan
  • Taipei Dangdai, Alisan Fine Arts, Taipei Nangang Exhibition Center, Taipei, Taiwan










  • Hong Kong Art: Open Dialogue Exhibition Series II- New Ink Art: Innovation and Beyond, curated by Mrs. Alice King, Hong Kong Museum of Art, Hong Kong 


  • 3rd Shanghai Ink Biennial, Exploration: New Ink Art Shanghai, Zhu Qizhan Art Museum, Shanghai, China 


  • 20th Century Chinese Landscape Painting, Shanghai Art Museum, Shanghai, China 



  • Beyond the Millenium: Paintings by the Contemporary Master Chao Chung-Hsiang, Hong Kong Arts Centre, Hong Kong


  • Pioneers of Chinese Abstraction: New York School: Chao Chung-Hsiang, John Way; Paris School: Chu Teh-Chun, Zao Wou-ki, Asia Art Centre, Taipei; Pun Art Gallery, Tainan; New Age Gallery, Taiching, Taiwan
  • Chao Chung-Hsiang's Paintings: a Selection, Chinese Painting Academy, Shanghai, China 


  • Solo exhibition & symposium, Lin Fengmian Centenary Celebrations: Lin Fengmian & 20th Century Art, Chinese Painting Academy, Shanghai, China
  • China 5000 Years: Innovation and Transformation in the Arts, Guggenheim Museum, New York, USA 


  • Asian Traditions: Modern Expressions, Jane Voorhees Zimmerli Museum, Rutgers University, New Jersey; Chicago Cultural Center; Fisher Gallery, University of Southern California; Japanese American National Museum, Los Angeles; Taipei Fine Arts Museum; Kaohsiung Museum of Fine Arts; Marugame Genichiro Inokuma Museum; Fukuoka Asian Art Museum; Akita Senshu Museum, Japan


  • The Art of Enlightened pleasure: Chao Chung-Hsiang, & publication Chao Chung-Hsiang Vol. 2, Alisan Fine Arts, Hong Kong

  • Commemoration of 6th Anniversary Chao Chung-Hsiang's death, Chao Collectors Club, Colourfield Art Space, Taipei, Taiwan

  • The Chinese Roots: Works from Mainland and Chinese Overseas Artists, Shanghai Art Museum, Shanghai, China  
  • Tresors, Alisan Fine Arts, World Trade Centre Singapore, Singapore 

  • Chinese Abstraction & Beyond, Alisan Fine Arts, Hong Kong Arts Centre, Hong Kong


  • Milieu: Part II, Asian American Arts Center, New York, USA


  • International Asian Art Fair, Alisan Fine Arts, 7th Regiment Armory, New York, USA


  • Twentieth-Century Chinese Painting: Tradition and Innovation, Travelling exhibition, Hong Kong Museum of Art, Hong Kong


  • The Empire of the Dragon: 4000 years of Chinese Art, Aarhus Kunst Museum, Denmark
  • Solo exhibition & symposium Eastern Philosophy, Western Language, Dimension Endowment of Art, Taipei, Taiwan
  • Solo exhibition, Notices The Gallery, Singapore
  • Wonders of Chinese Abstraction, Alisan Fine Arts, Hong Kong


  • The Art of Chao Chung-Hsiang, Godfrey Far Eastern Art, London, UK
  • Retrospective Exhibition, Taiwan Museum of Art, Taichung, Taiwan
  • Art Taipei, Alisan Fine Arts, Taipei World Trade Centre, Taipei, Taiwan


  • Solo Exhibition, Eslite Gallery, Taipei, Taiwan
  • Chao Chung-Hsiang: East-West Synthesis, Gallery 21, Singapore
  • Tresors, Alisan Fine Arts, World Trade Centre Singapore, Singapore 



  • Solo exhibition, Miaoli Cultural Centre, Taipei, Taiwan 


  • Solo exhibition, Alisan Fine Arts, Hong Kong
  • Solo exhibition & lecture, Taipei Fine Arts Museum, Taipei, Taiwan
  • Modern Chinese Paintings, Abstract Expression of the Brush, Warwick Arts Trust, London, UK 


  • Group exhibition, Taipei Fine Arts Museum, Taipei, Taiwan


  • Solo exhibition, Apollo Art Gallery, Taipei, Taiwan


  • Solo exhibition, Hwa Kang Museum, Chinese Culture University, Taipei, Taiwan
  • Solo exhibition, Brooklyn Museum, New York, USA


  • Group exhibition, Gallery 80, Toronto, Canada
  • Solo exhibition, Spring Gallery, Taipei, Taiwan


  • Ancient Heritage New Directions, Alternative Centre for International Art Inc, New York, USA 


  • More than 10 solo & group exhibitions, Couturier Gallery, Stamford, USA


  • Solo exhibition & lecture series (11 times),  Queens Museum, Flushing Meadows, New York, USA
  • International Artists’ 77 Exhibition, New York, USA
  • Solo Exhibition, Nassau County Fine Art Museum, Long Island, New York, USA 


  • Solo Exhibition, Rutgers University, New Jersey, USA 


  • Solo Exhibition, Arnot Art Museum, Elmira, New York, USA 


  • Solo exhibition & lecture, Arnot Art Museum, New York, USA
  • Solo exhibition, Guild Hall Museum, East Hampton, New York, USA


  • Solo exhibition, Parrish Museum, Southampton, New York, USA 
  • Solo exhibition, Russell Sage College, Albany, New York, USA


  • Solo Exhibition, Norwalk Museum, Norwalk, Connecticut, USA 


  • Exhibition of Contemporary Artists, Hemingway Gallery, New York, USA
  • 1st International Art Show, New York, USA
  • Contemporary Chinese Artists, International Monetary Fund, Washington DC, USA
  • Group exhibition, Atrium Gallery, Port Washington, New York, USA 


  • Solo Exhibition, Hemingway Gallery, New York, USA


  • Contemporary Paintings Exhibition: The Wellington-Ivest Collection, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, USA
  • Solo exhibition, Frederick-Nila Gallery, Texa, USA 


  • Group exhibition, Contemporary Galleries, New York, USA 


  • Group exhibition, Stamford Museum, Stamford, USA 


  • 92nd Annual Exhibition, American Watercolour Society, New York, USA


  • Group exhibition, Layetanas Galarias, Barcelona, Spain
  • Group exhibition by special invitation, Museum of Sao Paulo, Sao Paulo, Brazil 


  • 3 solo exhibitions, Shaanxi, China


  • 1st National Art Exhibition of Fine Arts, Nanjing, China

Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, USA
Brooklyn Museum, New York, USA 
Queen’s Museum, New York, USA 
Columbia University, New York, USA 
Guild Hall Museum, East Hampton, USA 
Hudson River Museum, Yonkers, USA 
Russel Sage College, Albany, USA 
Norwalk Museum, Norwalk, USA 
Stamford Art Museum, Stamford, USA 
The University of Maryland, Baltimore, USA 
National Art Museum of China, Beijing, China 
Shanghai Art Museum, Shanghai China 
Zhejiang Westlake Art Museum, Hangzhou, China 
Taipei Museum of Art, Taipei, Taiwan 
Taiwan Museum of Art, Taichung, Taiwan 
Hong Kong Museum of Art, Hong Kong 
M+, Hong Kong