程及 Chen Chi (1912 - 2005)
"The adjustment of an artist to his environment is the result of the growth and the development of the man imself, expressed through his art. Chen Chi is Chinese and is work remains Chinese in its technique. He does not, however, find his subjects or inspiration in the past. He lives in the present and in spite of the inherent delicacy of his medium, he is able to present with amazing power the elemental forces of nature, where in man assumes his proportionate place."
"The Asian influence in Chen Chi's work is always to be found in his persisent search for essential meaning. This, combined with his extraordinary mastery of brush and color, make him unique among artists."
- Pearl S. Buck, 1960
Many people who have been inspired to write about Chen Chi, including Pearl S. Buck, have dwelled on his mastery of the brush, extraordinary depth of feeling and profound philosophy of life. When I first met Chen Chi, I was immediately impressed with his energy, indefatigable optimism and quest for peace and harmony in the world.
Chen Chi was born in 1912 in the town of Wuxi, near Shanghai shortly after the 1911 Revolution, a time of never-ending wars, which made survival difficult during his youth. During the 1920’s and 1930’s Chinese artists were deeply affected by the ferment of creative ideas emanating from the West. In his earliest work Chen Chi was strongly influenced by these new currents, which left an indelible imprint on his approach to art and in 1947 he left China for the United States where he continues to reside and exhibit his paintings.
In April of 1999 the Chen Chi Art Museum was officially opened in Shanghai, not only as a place to display Chen Chi’s painting, but also to promote an international exchange of art and education. China’s President, Jiang Zemin, himself wrote the dedicatory inscription “Chen Chi Art Museum” as an act of personal respect and tribute to the artist.
Because of the artist’s deep concerns and commitments, it is not coincidental that Chen Chi has been chosen as the first living Chinese artist to be honoured with a one-man retrospective of his oeuvre in Versailles. This historic exhibition is being held in conjunction with the first World Cultural Summit which took place at the Palace of Versailles in June, 2000.
Chen Chi’s painting embraces a large diversity of styles, ranging from traditional Chinese watercolour techniques to boldly Impressionist modes in which the subject of the painting often disappears in a swirl of intermingled colour masses. Some of his paintings are naturalistic, and others are more abstractly oriented, but much of his work derives from intense observation of nature such as the changing seasons and the constant presence of the sun and moon.
Chen Chi has received numerous honors, including the Special Award for the Watercolor of the Year and the American Watercolor Society’s Bicentennial Gold Medal. He has served on the Board of Directors of the American Watercolor Society since 1959 and is a life-long Academician of the National Academy of Design. His works can be found in many public and private collections, foundations, universitites, corporations, and museums, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. He has held many one-man exhibitions, both in the U.S. and around the world.
The David Rockefeller Collection
Elizabeth Wang Gallery
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Placido Domingo with Mr. and Mrs. Chen Chi in front of Chen Chi's painting: "On the Stage - Metropolitan Opera House" which was painted in 1958 and has been on loan to the Metropolitan Opera House for public display.
Jiang Zemin, former President of China, with Chen Chi in the State Guest House in Beijing. President Jiang is a collector of Chen Chi's paintings. In April 1999, President Jiang personally inagurated the "Chen Chi Art Museum" in Shanghai. In October 1999, Chen Chi was invited to create a special painting to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the People's Republic of China.
Read the Press:
Shanghai Jiao Tong University, China
The Art Times, May 1999
By Raymond J. Steiner
It was as much spectacle as it was moment to us the opening of the Chen Chi Art Museum at the Shanghai Jiao Tong University Campus, not only a major milestone for a living artist but a significant addition to a university that, according to some students, is so top-heavy in its technology that it's been nicknamed the "the M.I.T of China."
Aquarelles de Chen Chi - A Retrospective Exhibition
The Art Times, July 1999
By Cornelia Seckel
Editor and Publisher of the Art Times.
It was a wonderful opening with people expressing their joy and pleasure with the paintings. Nearly 50 paintings had been shipped to Versailles for this retrospective and a catalogue as well as a print of one of Chen Chi's scroll paintings were offered as gifts to each visitor. It was a particular tribute to Chen Chi when the Ambassador of China to France spoke so highly of the man and his paintings as did Hubert Astier, President of the Chateau de Versailles.
Chen Chi Art Museum