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   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, USA
1972    Won the Creative Artists Public Service Program Award, New York State, USA
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, Museum of Modern Art, Asia University, Taichung, Taiwan



  • The Odyssey of a Master: Chao Chung-Hsiang, Sotheby’s Hong Kong Gallery, Hong Kong


  • Chao Chung-Hsiang: 10th Anniversary of His Death, Alisan Fine Arts, 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, Taichung, Taiwan
  • Chao Chung-Hsiang Solo Exhibition & Symposium: Celebrating the Centenary of Lin Fengmian, Chinese Painting Academy, Shanghai, China 
  • Solo exhibition, Notices The Gallery, Singapore
  • Eastern Philosophy, Western Language, solo exhibition & symposium, Dimension Endowment of Art, Taipei, Taiwan


  • The Art of Chao Chung-Hsiang, Godfrey Far Eastern Art, London, UK
  • Retrospective Exhibition, Taiwan Museum of Art, Taichung, Taiwan


  • Solo Exhibition, Eslite Gallery, Taipei, Taiwan
  • Chao Chung-Hsiang: East-West Synthesis, Gallery 21, Singapore
  • Solo exhibition, Miaoli Cultural Centre, Taipei, Taiwan 
  • Paintings by Chao Chung-Hsiang, Alisan Fine Arts, Hong Kong
  • Solo exhibition & lecture, 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
  • Solo exhibition, Spring Gallery, Taipei, Taiwan
  • Solo exhibition & lecture series (11 times),  Queens Museum, Flushing Meadows, 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 


  • Solo exhibition, Hemingway Gallery, New York, USA
  • More than 10 solo & group exhibitions, Couturier Gallery, Stamford, USA
  • Solo exhibition, Frederick-Nila Gallery, Texas, USA 


  • 3 solo exhibitions, Shaanxi, China











  • Hong Kong International Arts & Antiques Fair, Alisan Fine Arts, Hong Kong Exhibition & Convention Centre, 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 


  • 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


  • China 5000 Years, 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



  • 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



  • Art Taipei, Alisan Fine Arts, Taipei World Trade Centre, Taipei, Taiwan


  • Tresors, Alisan Fine Arts, World Trade Centre Singapore, Singapore 


  • Art Asia Hong Kong, Alisan Fine Arts, Hong Kong Convention & Exhibition Centre, Hong Kong


  • Modern Chinese Paintings, Abstract Expression of the Brush, Warwick Arts Trust, London, UK 


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


  • Group exhibition, Gallery 80, Toronto, Canada


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


  • International Artists’ 77 Exhibition, New York, 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 


  • Contemporary Paintings Exhibition: The Wellington-Ivest Collection, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, USA


  • Group exhibition, Contemporary Galleries, New York, USA 


  • Group exhibition, Stamford Museum, Stamford, USA 


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


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


  • 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 
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