Lai Chuen-chien was born in Zhongli in 1926 and enrolled in the First Public School of Zhongli. As early as he was in the fifth grade (12 years of age), he was selected for the school’s fine arts exhibition. Upon graduating from the Kainan Business School in 1943, Lai pursued further studies in Japan, but soon returned home as Japan lost World War II. Even after he returned to Taiwan from Japan leaving his education unfinished, Lai continued studying art theory on his own and learned with master painter Li Shih-chiao. It was only after more than three decades in 1976 that he went to Japan again to study at the Musashino Art University, completing his dream of further studies. Lai resigned from a teaching post at age 64. The retired high school art teacher, who gave lectures for nearly 40 years, also compiled a set of art textbooks for junior high school students for a publishing house. He has written six books entitled Studies on Oil Painting Techniques, Perspective Painting Techniques, The Art of Buddha Statues, etc. Tragedy of a Talent and Footprints of Master Artists in particular enlightened many young artists in the 1960s in Taiwan. Lai used to be the executive member of the Creative Oil Painting Society of R.O.C and member of the Tai-yang Arts Society. He was awarded the grand prize and the third prize at the 18th and 21st “Taiwan Provincial Fine Arts Exhibitions” in western painting; the Mining Industry Prize of the “Tai-yang Art Exhibition” in 1963; Sun Yat-sen Literature and Arts Award in 1985; and Wu San-lien Arts Award in 2000. Lai’s artistic effort has been highly recognized.
Influenced by Impressionism in early years, Lai was so touched by the works of Georges Braques that he began to study the partitioning techniques of Cubism. His early works are filled with colors, while later ones look more succinct. Atlier was created during the transitional stage between the two. Although strong color contrasts and color hues are used, they are carefully choreographed as an integrated whole. In a complicated framework, most of the color hues are found on the left. A desk tidy, slippers, fruit and a vase are shown, presenting reality in a semi-abstract approach. Using his acute senses for art, the painter decomposes concrete objects into abstract lines and planes in harmony. Although on a closer look, figurative elements can still be found. The objects in transformation and the messages delivered remind one of the formation of Cubism, in which still life is reflected upon along with time and space.
While the artist’s early works are focused on portraits and still life, by the late 1950s, Lai began to show interest in Cubism and the dissembling and assembling of multifaceted areas of paint. He highly values form and space presented through multiple perspectives. Many have praised him as “a master artist in the western painting community of Taiwan influenced by Cubism.” In the 1960s, Lai gradually developed a semi-abstract style. From 1962 on, his use of colors grew much simpler, sometimes to the point of monochromes. The artist believes that painting is like a poem composed of colors. He used to like fiery colors when he was young. As he grew older, he developed a preference for lighter, more graceful colors. Since the 1970s, the artist was able to integrate form and color through the use of white-based light color hues. From the 1980s on, he continued using bright colors to choreograph form and structure, attaining a stronger sense of stability in his works. He also tried capturing the dynamic colors against light. Overall, his paintings of this period become more figurative and mature.
|Medium / Classification：||Oil paints and Acrylic colors|
|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|