Chiang Er-Shih

Born in Kiangsu Province, China, in 1913, Mr. Chiang shares his name with a distinguished group of forebears. Artists, poets and men of official rank have brought distinction to the family name in cultural and intellectual circles from the late Ming Dynasty to the present. His great-grandfather Chiang T'ing-Hsi (1669-1732) was a master painter of his period and paintings by him are included in the inventory of the Palace Collection. Following the conventional classical education, Mr. Chiang served both in the Museum and School of Fine Arts in Kwangsi. An important and perceptible part of his early training was as a pupil of Huang Ping-Hung (1864-1955), one of the last great scholarpainters in the traditional sense. Like his teacher, Chiang patiently studied and copied the old masters, a study facilitated by his own family's fine collection of paintings and calligraphy and heightened by his master's keen eye and connoisseurship. Unlike his teacher, whose individualistic paintings were not widely appreciated, and who has gained greater stature only after his death in 1955, Chiang Er-shih won more immediate recognition in China and subsequently in Hong Kong. Contemporary Chinese painting has many faces, from the purely decorative, traditionally oriented, Sunday-painter studies of bird, bamboo and chrysanthemum to the often explosive abstractions by imaginative painters of the " Now Generation ". A small, even more select group have successfully used traditional training as a springboard, embracing certain aspects of contemporary Western painting to enhance and advance their art. Chiang Er-shih is among this group. The Art Institute of Chicago
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