Chang Dai-chien is one of the most acclaimed Chinese artists of the 20th century. To mark the 120th anniversary of his birth and 47 years since his previous solo show at the museum, we are inaugurating the newly renovated Chinese painting gallery with Chang Dai-chien: Painting from Heart to Hand. Comprising works donated to the museum by the artist, as well as loans from his friends and family, the exhibition spotlights Chang’s groundbreaking modernization of ink painting.
Born in 1899 in Sichuan province, Chang traveled extensively to seek sources of inspiration in the historical past and in nature. In the early 1940s, he spent more than two years studying and copying ancient Buddhist paintings in the caves of Dunhuang, instigating new interest in these overlooked masterpieces. His exhibitions following this sojourn earned him artistic success and recognition as a true master.
Chang left China in 1949, eventually settling in California in 1969, first in Carmel-by-the-Sea and then Pebble Beach. During this period of self-imposed exile, he was inspired by Western art and California’s distinctive landscape, and his splashed-color paintings came close to total abstraction.
Chang left California in 1977 for Taiwan, where he died in 1983. He continues to be internationally recognized as a pivotal figure who expanded the field of traditional Chinese ink painting. We are pleased to honor his legacy with this exhibition showcasing his unique artistic vision.