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City of Paintings

        Chiayi city has always been a place of humanism since it was built 300 years ago. Chiayi City gained the title “City of Paintings” in 1938, and the art works of Chiayi now are still shining bright in the art world after nearly a century has passed. The art works must be remained to make Chiayi City, the city of paintings, even honorable. Many famous artists originated from Chiayi such as Chen Cheng-po, Wu Mei-ling, Lin Yu-shan, Chen Ding-qi and Zhang Yi-xiong have built the outstanding styles and reputation for Chiayi since the Japanese Rule.

Chen Cheng-po, the Incarnation of Oil Painting

        Chen Cheng-po (1895 – 1947), born in Chiayi, once proudly claimed himself as the incarnation of oil painting, which reveals his essential status in Taiwan’s art history. This influential painter brought not only his achievement but the pursuit of his ideal, art and this society to our land, Taiwan.

        In 1926, his work Street of Kagi was selected for the Imperial Art Exhibition of Japan, making him the first Taiwanese painter accepted for the exhibition. The news soon became widespread in Taiwan and Japan. He then got the reputation after his works were selected several times.

        He founded the Tai-Yang Art Society after returning to Taiwan in 1933, and was elected as one of the 1st Taiwan Provincial Senate members in 1946. He got shot dead in 1947 due to the February 28 Incident. He created a great number of art works during his short life, and most of them showcased landscapes, especially his hometown Chiayi.

        In memory of Chen Cheng-po’s short yet magnificent life, Chiayi City Government organized the authentic musical I’m the Incarnation of Oil Painting in 2011. The first Chen Cheng-po’s Day was celebrated on the 2nd of February in 2012 to remember the love of a painter to Taiwan and to promote the value of his works, which makes his spirit always stand with us.



Wu Mei-ling, the Art Giver

        Wu Mei-ling (1897 – 2003) had been interested in art since he was a child. He self-taught the techniques of ink wash painting, Nihonga, and calligraphy. People can’t help but admire his persistence of art.

        Due to his marvelous skills, he dedicated himself to art education from the Japan’s Rule to KMT Rule, which lasted for around 50 years. He was an influential educator in the art world of Taiwan.

        In memory of his commitment on art education and art promotion in Chiayi, Mei-ling Fine Arts Museum was founded in 1995 to nourish the art world in Taiwan.

Lin Yu-shan, Sketching Lives

        Lin Yu-shan (1907 – 2004) was famous for his vivid works of ink wash painting and Nihonga. His most well-known thing was to keep his life goal on nature sketching, claiming sketching was the very fundamental skill of drawing. The subjects of his paintings were usually animals, birds, plants, and natural sceneries. His strokes were exquisite and able to accurately express the real faces of the nature into his paintings. He actively promoted art and cultural events in Taiwan, as well as worked on his research and organized exhibitions.

Chen Ding-qi, Divine Crane

        Chiayi is a place of literature and art and the paintings are the most well-known. Chen Cheng-po, Wu Mei-ling, and Lin Yu-shan were all outstanding painters. Yet aside from paintings, the calligrapher Chen Ding-qi (1911 – 1994) created fabulous works through simple ink-black lines.

        His calligraphy works were greatly influenced by Japanese culture and he dedicated his life to calligraphy education. He had his first calligraphy exhibition at Taipei Fine Arts Museum in 1992, and the exhibition covered 112 pieces of his works on different types of scripts. His strokes were free and flowing, which is quite unique among contemporary calligraphy works. The exhibition hit the art world of the north then.

Zhang Yi-xiong, the Homesick

        Zhang Yi-xiong (1914 – 2016) had fell in love with drawing since he was a child. Inspired by the painting master Chen Cheng-po, he stepped into the journey of art. He saw a painter focusing on his work and was amazed by his concentration when he was 10. He then set his goal on being a painter as Chen Cheng-po.

        Up to 64 pieces of his works were purchased by Mr. Frank, an American collector, in 1964. His works were selected for the Salon of French Artists and the Salon d’Automne in 1980, and he was the first Taiwanese painter who received artist pension in France. He then became an official member of Salon d’Automne to broaden his career.

        His life going up and down, he was born in a wealthy family and faced setbacks and challenges all along. However, his passion for art never faded away because the relationship with hometown and homesick supported him to continue his works and art creation.