1929-2023, Nanjing China


Chinyee is a first-generation Chinese-American artist who associates herself with the New York School of Abstract Expressionism. Born in 1929 in Nanjing, her early childhood was clouded by the onset of the Sino-Japanese War. She began her formal education at Nankai Secondary School in Chongqing. Then in 1947, she was awarded a four-year scholarship to study Fine Arts at the College of Mount Saint Vincent in New York and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in 1951. She then went on to receive a Master of Arts in Art Education from New York University in 1953 and joined the United Nations after graduation. She was sent to work in Congo in 1961 and was greatly inspired by her time there. It was during the 1950s that she began to experiment with semi-abstract art, then later, total abstraction. Chinyee’s work combines both Eastern spirit and Western expression. Her gestural and loose brush strokes reflect both Asian brush techniques and years of careful study of modernist abstraction. The spontaneity of touch, the sense of excitement in the off-set compositions, and the unexpected bursts of colours are all genuine expressions of her mood, emotions and life experiences. 

Alisan Fine Arts first began showing Chinyee’s works in 2004, and in 2007, Alisan Fine Arts organised her 50-year retrospective at the Shanghai Art Museum. In the preface to the accompanying catalogue, Li Lei, then Executive Director of the Shanghai Art Museum, wrote that “in Chinyee’s paintings, one can feel the pulse of her instant emotions as they are touched by nature and life…Her lyrical abstract paintings are suffused with the vitality of nature and a buoyant spirit for life.” Since her first solo exhibition at the Mi Chou Gallery in New York in 1965, Chinyee has had a long career of solo and group exhibitions in the United States, Asia, and Europe. She was included in the landmark travelling group exhibition, held from 1997-1999, Asian Traditions/Modern Expressions, organised by Jane Voorhees Zimmerli Art Museum, Rutgers University in New Jersey. Her work has been honoured by UNICEF in its educational films, and by the United States State Department “Art in Embassies Program”. A painting was selected for the American Consulate’s residence in Hong Kong from 2014-2016. From February of 2023 to March 2024, her abstract paintings were included in the travelling group exhibition of female abstract artists held by the Whitechapel Art Gallery, London, UK; Fondation Vincent Van Gogh, Arles, France; Kunsthalle Bielefeld, Bielefeld, Germany.

Her works have been collected by numerous private collectors, UNICEF; Shanghai Art Museum; Nankai University, Tianjin; St.Regis Nanjing Hotel, Nanjing, China.

1929    Born in Nanjing, China
1937    Family moved to Chongqing, China. Became interested in painting, literature, and music
1947    Awarded a scholarship to study in the United States
1951    Bachelor of Fine Arts, Mount Saint Vincent College, New York, United States
1953    Master Degree in Art Education, New York University, New York, United States
1954    Worked as a guide at the United Nations and studied at the Art Student League, New York, United States
1956    Joined the accounting department at the United Nations, New York, United States
1961    Assigned to work with the United Nations in former Belgian Congo
1967    Joined the United Nations Interpretation Section as a simultaneous interpreter
1969-75    United Nations missions to Geneva, Rome, Athens, Caracas, Jamaica, Mexico, Nairobi, Bangkok, and Sri Lanka
1988    Established the Chinyee Art Studio, New York, United States
2023    Passed away in June in New Jersey, at the age of 94


  • Dances of the Inner Being, Gallery 456, Chinese American Arts Council, New York, United States





  • Richart Design et Chocolat, New York, United States


  • Chelsea and Westminster NHS Trust, London, United Kingdom


  • College of Mount St. Vincent, New York, United States


  • Chinese Culture Institute, Boston, United States


  • State University of New York Performing Arts Centre, Purchase, New York (Invitation of Philharmonia Virtuosi, Westchester, New York), United States


  • Gelabert Studios, New York, United States


  • China Institute, New York, United States


  • Mi Chou Gallery, New York, United States





  • Action, Gesture, Paint: Women Artists and Global Abstraction 1940–70Whitechapel Gallery, London, UK; Fondation Vincent Van Gogh, Arles, France; Kunsthalle Bielefeld, Bielefeld, Germany












  • Beyond Representation, Alisan Fine Arts, Hong Kong


  • Walter Wickiser Gallery, New York, United States
  • Exhibition of American Art, US Ambassador's Residence, Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso


  • Traveling Exhibition: Asian Traditions/Modern Expressions, Asian American Artists and Abstraction 1945-1970, Jane Voorhees Zimmerli Art Museum, Rutgers University, New York; Chicago Cultural Centre, Chicago; Japanese American National Museum and Bedford Gallery, California, United States; Kaohsiung Museum of Fine Arts, Taipei Museum of Fine Arts, Taiwan; Fukuoka Asian Art Museum, Fukuoka; Akita Senshu Museum, Akita, Japan


  • U.S. Embassy, Quito, Equador


  • U.S. Embassy, Manila, Philippines


  • U.S. Department of State's Art in Embassies Program, United States


  • Art Reach-Out, Westside Community Artist Coalition, New York, United States


  • Ariel Gallery, New York, United States


  • Scarsdale Art Association, New York, United States


  • UNICEF Benefit Show, New York, United States


  • Fourth Annual Art Exhibition, Las Vegas, Nevada, United States


  • Mi Chou Gallery, New York, United States


1955    First prize, Fourth Annual Art Round-Up, Las Vegas Art League, United States
1967    Watercolor titled “Congo Village” selected by UNICEF for its annual calendar, and used in educational films
1976/82/86 First prize, group show, Scarsdale Art Association, New York, United States
1987    Certificate of Special Merit “Metropolitan Art Competition”, New York, United States
1989    Prize “Soho International Art Contest”, Ariel Gallery, New York, United States
Awarded title “Artist of the Nineties”, Manhattan Arts Magazine, New York, United States
1990    Second prize, group show Juried, Scarsdale Art Association, New York, United States
1995    Oil painting titled “Negotiated” selected by the US Department of State's Art in Embassies Program
1996    Four paintings selected for display at the US Embassy, Manila, Philippines
1997    Two paintings selected for display at the US Embassy, Quito, Equador
1999    Painting entitled “Ochre #4” selected for an exhibition of American Art, US Ambassador's Residence, Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso
2015    Painting selected for an exhibition Art in Embassies, US Consul General’s Residence in Hong Kong


Shanghai Art Museum, China
Nankai University, Tianjin, China
St.Regis Nanjing Hotel, Nanjing, China
Private collectors from New York; Greenwich, Connecticut; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Fort Lee, New Jersey; San Francisco, California, USA; Geneva, Switzerland; London, United Kingdom; Taipei, Taiwan

1994    Between Interpretations, Recent Paintings by Chinyee, Viridian Gallery, New York, United States
1995    Chinyee Retrospective Exhibition 1965-1995, East-Asia Gallery, Taipei, Taiwan
1997    Jeffrey Wechsler, Asian Traditions/Modern Expressions, Asian American Artists and Abstraction 1945-1970, Jane Voorhees Zimmerli Art Museum, Rutgers University, New Jersey, United States
2003    Common Ground, Walter Wickiser Gallery, Soho, New York, United States
2007    A Lyrical Journey, Chinyee's 50-Year Retrospective, Alisan Fine Arts, Hong Kong
2013    Rhythms of Creation, Paintings by Chinyee, sponsored by Alisan Fine Arts, published by China Citic Press, Beijing, China
2023    Action, Gesture, Paint: Wome Artists and Global Abstraction 1940-70, Whitechapel Gallery, London, United Kingdom
Action, Geste, Peinture: Femmes dans L'Abstraction, une Historie Mondiale 1940-70, Fondation Vincent van Gogh Arles, Arles, France