Hanging scroll: ink and color on paper
h 19 -1/8 x w 23 -3/4 inches
Wang Chi-ch'ien was born in Wu-hsien in Chiangsu province and emigrated to the United States in 1949, settling in New York
City. He has been a major force in contemporary art circles and has taken part in numerous exhibitions at museums and galleries.
He trained as an artist in China with the famous Suchou painter Gu Lin-shih (1865-1933) and later, in the 1930s, with the
painter and collector Wu Hu-fan (1894-1968). His training with these artists set the stage for him to be a traditional literati
artist in the late Ch'ing style. His paintings do use the principles of the past - disciplined brushwork, a reliance on past
masters, layering of composition - but in Wang's hands they transcend the ordinary and become innovations of modern art. His
use of strong, nontraditional colors is only one of the many contributions that Wang has made to the growth of contemporary
Along with being an exceptional painter Wang is a collector and connoisseur of Chinese painting. He is also the co-author
of a standard reference text on Chinese painters, has served as an advisor for numerous institutions, and is frequently called
upon by colleagues to authenticate works of art. He has an encyclopedic knowledge of Chinese paintings and has traveled extensively
to look at paintings. He and Professor James Cahill are lifelong friends and often exchange opinions and paintings.
"I had the good fortune in my early career, while I was working on my dissertation, to look at a lot of paintings in the company
of some really great teachers. I put it that way rather than simply learning from the teachers - they are talking to me; I
am standing there with them, looking at a painting and seeing what they say about it. I was in New York, at the Metropolitan
Museum on a fellowship, 1953 to 1954, before I moved to Japan. I got to know C. C. Wang and spent a lot of time with him,
looking at paintings. [He] represents that absolute, top level of Chinese connoisseurship.
"I have said this is the basis of Chinese connoisseurship - being able to recognize a good Orthodox school painting and being
able to imitate it in your own painting like Wang Chi-ch'ien can or Wu Hufan (1894-1968), who was Wang's teacher, or Xu Bangda
[a well-known Chinese connoisseur at the Palace Museum] in Beijing."