Expressing an alternative voice : the role of Chinese women painters in mid-twentieth century Britain
EACS 2016: The 21st biennial conference of the European Association for Chinese Studies
St. Petersburg State University; the Institute of Oriental Manuscripts RAS; the State Hermitage Museum
Fang Zhaoling, Chang Chien-Ying, Chinese Painting, Exhibitions, Museums, Galleries
In the 1930s, Chinese artists became active in developing cultural exchange with British scholars, col-lectors and curators through organizing exhibitions in London. For several decades, the display of Chinesepaintings in British museums and galleries was dominated by male artists frommainland China, Hong Kongand those resided in Europe and America. It was not until the 1950s that a few Chinese women painterswere able to make their work more accessible to English audiences, offering an alternative voice in the artof modern China from a feminine perspective.
This paper examines the role and contribution of two prominent Chinese-born London-based art-ists, Chang Chien-Ying (1913–2004) and Fang Zhaoling (1914–2006), in promoting an appreciationof modern Chinese painting in Britain. I will examine their exhibition activities from 1951 to 1980,while analyzing the subject matter, techniques and artistic ideas of their works in British collections.I will also explore Chang’s and Fang’s connections with local curators and dealers who contributed toproviding exhibition opportunities, including their solo and group shows held at the Royal Academy ofArts, Leicester Galleries, Grosvenor Gallery and Huge Moss Gallery in London, as well as the ScottishNational Gallery of Modern Art in Edinburgh. While Chang Chien-Ying moved to London in 1946,together with her husband Fei Chengwu (1911–2000) who was also an artist, I argue that Fang Zhaoling,who studied at Oxford in 1956 after becoming a widow, was more successful in promoting her workto public museums and leading galleries across Britain, making herself the most well-known Chinesewoman artist to the British audience.
Huang, Y.-L. M. (2016). Expressing an alternative voice : the role of Chinese women painters in mid-twentieth century Britain. Paper presented at the EACS 2016: 21st biennial conference of the European Association for Chinese Studies, Russia.