Chen Cheng-po was born in Chiayi in 1895. He studied at Tokyo School of Arts (Tokyo Bijutsu Gakko) with a specialized interest in oil painting and graduated in 1929. While still an art student in Japan, Chen became the first ever Taiwanese artist to be honored with a place in a Japanese arts exhibition, as his painting, Outside the Chiayi Street was selected for the 7th Imperial Arts Exhibition. After graduating from the Tokyo School of Arts, Chen Cheng-po went to China and taught at various art schools, including the prestigious Xinhua Academy of Arts and Changming School of Arts. He also served as a judge for Western-style painting at the 1st National Art Exhibition held at Shanghai. Chen was sent back to Taiwan as a Japanese expatriate in 1933 as tensions between China and Japan were accelerating in a lead-up to WWII. He continued to practice art after his return to Taiwan and had a productive career both as multiple award-winning artist and a keen advocate of art movements. His works were selected for the Imperial Arts Exhibition several times; he has also won the top prize at the 2nd and 8th Taiwan Arts Exhibitions. Chen Cheng-po also served as a judge at the 1st Taiwan Provincial Arts Exhibition and founded several arts societies including the Seven Stars Painting Societies, the Red Sun Painting Society, the Red Island Society and Taiyang Fine Arts Association.
This painting, Chiayi Park (1937), shows a guileless, spontaneous, and accessible visual vocabulary. The use of multi-perspectives as well as the free, flowing brush stroke is also exemplary of the artist's unique signature style. The focus of this painting falls on the sky-reaching flame tree, which occupies approximately two-third of the painting, giving the painting a great sense of space and depth. The romantic and fairytale atmosphere most gorgeously embodied in the swans seems to reflect the artist's nostalgic yearning for his hometown.
From a very young age, Chen Cheng-po has shown great commitment to social causes as well as to art. His commitment has been well reflected not only in the contents and styles of his paintings, but also in his involvement in arts, culture and political affairs. A keen promoter of fine arts, Chen founded or co-founded several arts societies including the Seven Stars Painting Societies, the Red Sun Painting Society, the Red Island Society and Taiyang Fine Arts Association, and often expressed his views on the social responsibilities of artists in his writings. In 1946, Chen was elected as a member of the city council in Chiayi, where he was born. Due to the 228 Incident, severe conflict occurred in 1947 between the Chiayi citizens and the Chinese Nationalist government, whose military was trapped inside the city's airport. The city produced a "228 Incident Committee", composed of Chen and five others who would approach the military as representatives of peace. The military, however, captured four of them, including Chen, and released the remaining two. On the morning of March 25, 1947, after being tied up with wires, Chen Cheng-po and the other three were shot dead in public outside the Chiayi Rail Station.
|English title：||Chiayi Park|
|Medium / Classification：||Oil paints and Acrylic colors|
|Life-span：||1895 - 1947|
|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：Highlights from the National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts Collection|