C. C. WANG 王季迁

C.C. Wang (Chi-ch’ien Wang, 1907-2003) was born in Wu County, Jiangsu Province, China in 1907. After studying authentic literati art and connoisseurship with old masters Gu Linshi and Wu Hufan in Shanghai, he decided to devote himself to art. In 1936 he was asked to be an adviser to the committee organizing the ground-breaking London exhibition of art from the Palace Museum in Beijing. This allowed him to examine all the paintings in the imperial collection, something no private citizen had ever done.

Wang is best known as a painter, calligrapher, and collector of Chinese art. As a collector, his collection of ancient Chinese paintings is consistently listed as one of the greatest of such collections in the world. In 1998, 25 paintings from his collection were given to the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

In painting, Wang is especially known for basing the brushwork of traditional literati landscape painting on chance effects created by pretreating the paper–for example, stamping paper with wooden planks to create a wood grain pattern, or crumpling papers into balls and dipping their projecting angles into ink. The resulting lines, blots, and patterns are then converted into landscapes by adding traditional elements such as trees, houses, or rocks in ink or color. He may also add washes of light color to suggest variations in light patterns or clouds. This is a variation on the “splashed ink” technique. His work draws on both Chinese and Western painterly techniques.(See: Silbergeld, Jerome. Mind Landscapes: the Paintings of C.C. Wang. Seatle: University of Washington Press, c1987.)

Wang’s renowned works include “Painting and Calligraphy by C.C. Wang,” “Collection of Landscape Painting by C.C. Wang,” and “Mountains of the Mind: The Landscapes of C.C. Wang.” He also co-edited “Seals of Chinese Painters and Collectors.”


C. C. Wang

1907 Born in Wu County, Jiangsu Province, China


1924 Studied under Suzhou painter Gu Linshi

1932 Studied painting with Wu Hufan in Shanghai, while simultaneously studying law in the evening at Soochow University Law School

1935 Served as member of the committee to select works lent by the Beijing Palace Museum Collection the International Exhibition of Chinese Arts, Burlington House, London, England

1940 Co-authored, with Victoria Contag, Seals of Chinese Painters and Collectors of the Ming and Ch’ ing Periods (The Commercial Press, Shanghai, 1940; Revised Edition with Supplement, Hong Kong University Press, 1966)
Taught Chinese painting at the Shanghai and Suzhou Art Academies

1950 Studied western painting at the Art Students’ League, New York, New York

1957 Taught painting at the Chinese University of Hong Kong

1962 Served as chairman of the Art Department, Chinese University of Hong Kong, and taught Chinese painting at the same university.

Solo Exhibitions

1950 First solo exhibition, Warren E. Cox Gallery, New York

1968 Solo exhibition, M. H. de Young Memorial Museum, San Francisco, California






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