Jang Chiou-hai was born in 1899 in Heshang Zhou, Taipei (present-day Luzhou, Taipei). In 1919, he graduated from the Taipei School of Language and obtained the Governor-General’s grant to study in Japan, at the Tokyo Superior Normal School, specializing in crafts. Art educator Mo Da-yuan was amongst his peers. In 1922 Jang entered the Tokyo School of Fine Arts to specialise in Western painting, in the same class as artist Yan Shuei-long. In 1927 he then went on to study in the postgraduate department; in the meantime Jang had been selected for “Taiwan Fine Arts Exhibition” on several occasions. In 1930, his painting, Portrait of the Artist’s Wife, was selected for the 11th “Imperial Art Exhibition”. Jang Chiou-hai also took a proactive role in Taiwan’s art movements and became a leading figure in the Chidao She (Red Island Society) and Chihsing Painters’ Group. Jang did not return to Taiwan to develop his career after his graduation from the Tokyo Fine Arts School; instead, since having married his Japanese girlfriend Kanazawa Fushi, the need to sustain their livelihood compelled him to take up business and stop painting. In 1938 he began teaching at the Peking Normal University, and later, the Beijing Normal College of Arts and the Central Academy of Arts and Crafts. Despite the glory and endorsement of “Imperial Art Exhibition”, Jang did not go on to flourish in his career; sadly he never had the chance to develop his creative work over a continuous trajectory.
This painting was selected for the 11th “Imperial Art Exhibition” and is also the earliest amongst Jang’s surviving works. The composition is sombre, the choice of colour simple and elegant, the structure of imagery compact, solid and substantial in presence, the arrangement clear and giving a sense of space. The subject in the painting was Kanazawa Fushi, portrayed at the time when she and Jang Chiou-hai had been married for just over a year. The portrait shows a young mother sitting with poise on a chair, both hands relaxed and naturally placed, her long hair pulled back, her facial features delicate with light red colour on the lips; in a sober style with no frills, complete with a simply-cut, soft-green open-collar dress, the female figure exudes an air of down-to-earth serenity.
During his study in Japan, Jang Chou-hai had received support from Hsu Bing, a member of the Taiwanese political elite, who also recommended him for jobs as a caretaker of the Tokyo villa, as well as a translator, for a wealthy Taiwanese merchant Lin Hsiung-cheng. In 1932 Jang headed the Tunghsing Society of Commerce in Tokyo, trading in tea. It was unsuccessful and business ceased in 1937 at the outbreak of Sino-Japanese War. He moved to Beijing in 1938 and settled in China thereafter. After moving to Beijing, Jang Chiou-hai taught drawing and crafts at the Peking Normal University; he then had the chance to resume his creative work. Nevertheless in 1945 Jang once more left art behind and moved to Tientsin to run Hefung Hang with Wu San-lien and brother-in-law Chen Huo-bei in the dye business. Moving back from Tientsin to Beijing in 1952, Jang returned to his teaching position at the Beijing Normal University, which had been a momentary but peaceful period of time for him. During the Cultural Revolution Jang was deemed as a member of the bourgeoisie and sent to Niu Peng (literally ‘cowshed’, meaning forced labour camps/prisons) for laogai (reform through labour). From 1971 he was sent to Houlu County in Hebai for laogai and suffered for over a decade before being allowed back to university; he never mentioned a word about painting again.
|English title：||Portrait of the Artist's Wife|
|Medium / Classification：||Oil paints and Acrylic colors|
|Life-span：||1899 - 1988|
|Collection Unit：||National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts|
|Contact method for authorization：||
Guide to the Use of Image Files and Data from the Online Collection Database
|Related Exhibition：||Unique Vision Ⅱ：Highlights from the National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts Collection|