Chen Chi Information and Inventory

Chen Chi

(1912 - 2005)

Chen Chi


 Pearl S. Buck, who sponsored Chen Chi’s entrance into the United States in 1947, said of the artist, “Preserving the essentials of Chinese tradition in technique… he is a mature and exciting artist, and his works are significant in symbolic thought as well as beauty.” Born in Wusih, west of Shanghai, Chen Chi was an instructor at the time he left China for the United States. In the more than fifty years of creating poetry in watercolor, Chen Chi rose to the pinnacle of Chinese-American artists in this country. All the honors imaginable have been bestowed upon him. I recall that my wife and I had the privilege many years ago of visiting his studio in the National Arts Club and seeing many works in progress, often on the largest sheets of Chinese paper imaginable. Sharing a lunch with Chen and his wife that day was both exciting and oddly serene… like his work. The artist was also an author; perhaps “poet” is more exact. His writings about simple things such as, the brush he uses, the variety of strokes he employs, how to “play the water” in a watercolor have a spiritual quality. Chen began exhibiting at the Grand Central Gallery in 1958, and his one-man shows were eagerly anticipated. Two of the three paintings in the collection were acquired at these shows—the first in 1969 and the second in 1973. Years later, in 1999, a major museum exhibition piece depicting Central Park in spring appeared at a Sotheby’s auction. I had not seen Chen’s work since the close of the Grand Central Galleries years earlier, but had heard that the Chinese community actively sought his paintings and a major museum was being built in Shanghai in his honor. I purchased Central Park and later learned that Chen Chi returned to his homeland for the unprecedented honor of attending the opening at the Jiao Tong University. He passed away in China, one presumes surrounded by friends, admirers, and many of his best works, both paintings and writing.

Chen Chi Gallery

No paintings by this author