About the Artist
Fengmiam Lin (1900-1990)
Lin Fengmian was born in 1900, a native of Meizhou, Guangdong Province in China. He was born with the name Shaoqiong, but changed it to Fengmian in 1920. His father and grandfather were also artists who painted and carved tombstones. Fengmian created art as a child and sold his first painting at nine years old.
In 1919, he moved to France on a work-study program and worked as a signboard painter in Marseilles. A year later, Fengmian enrolled at l’Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Dijon for six months and drew figures in charcoal. Next he studied at the Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts in Paris. He also studied drawing and learned realistic oil painting at the Cormon art studio in Paris. He enjoyed learning the style of western painting, but also wanted to study traditional Chinese art and was able to do so by frequently visiting the Musée Guimet of Eastern Art and Musée National de la Céramique, the national museum of ceramics. In 1922, his oil painting Autumn was exhibited at the Salon d’Automne.
By 1923, Lin Fengmian moved to Berlin, where he was introduced to northern expressionist movements in painting. In 1924, his work was a combination of Eastern and Western concepts and he exhibited over 40 paintings in an exhibition of ancient and modern Chinese art in Strasbourg, organized by the Chinese government. He also had two large oil paintings accepted in the 1924 Salon d’Automne. The following year Lin exhibited in the Chinese section of the Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs.
He returned to China in 1926 and became director of the National Beijing Fine Art School. By age 29, he was made president of the Hangzhou National College of Art, which later became the prestigious China Academy of Art. In 1928, he initiated the Association for Art Movements in China to promote art. His work was innovative at the time as he both honored traditional art, by using rice paper and ink, and broke from tradition by incorporating more expressive colors and parting from the long scrolls in favor of a square format. Throughout his life, his subjects were mainly landscapes, opera characters, lady figures, flowers, birds and still lifes.
Lin Fengmian’s career would take some tragic turns. By the 1930s, much of his early work was destroyed by the Japanese during the Sino-Japanese war. Fengmian had fled with only his Chinese paintings and was forced to leave his oil paintings behind. Soldiers destroyed his home and the paintings. More work had to be destroyed during the Cultural Revolution. Fengmian had been controversial for some time now in China for breaking with tradition and encourage his students and others to open their minds to western movements in art. In 1966, as the Cultural Revolution was underway, Lin soaked his works in water and flushed the pulp down the toilet, so his art could not be used against him or his supporters. He was imprisoned for four years, tortured and persecuted for being an artist and for his way of thinking.
Lin Fengmian’s work was widely exhibited throughout China in his late career including Second National Art Exhibition in Nanjing, solo exhibition at the University of Hong Kong, Fourth National Art Exhibition in Chongqing, Second Joint Exhibition of Contemporary Painting and the Exhibition of Contemporary Chinese Painting in Paris. He was a pioneer of modern Chinese art and teacher to the next generation. A retrospective exhibition was held at the National Museum of History in Taipei and a one-man exhibition at the China National Art Museum in Beijing to honor him for his 90th birthday. Lin Fengmian died in 1991.
Other Impressionist Artists
Walter Launt Palmer
Sven Birger Sandzen
Joseph Henry Sharp
Marc (Moishe Shagal) Chagall
Jean Pierre Cassigneul
Ackerman's Fine Art is actively purchasing works by Fengmiam Lin.