Temporary Exhibitions

Chao Shao-an: Moments between Worlds



Chao Shao-an (Chinese, 1905-1998) Pomegrante: Seeds of an Open Pomegranate, Ink and pigment on paper, Courtesy of the Artist’s family


February 4 – June 19, 2020

Chao Shao-an (趙少昂, 1905-1998) lived a momentous life vividly expressed through brush and ink over a nearly eighty-year career.  This intimate exhibition of seventeen works are drawn from the collection of his family and feature detailed yet poetic images of the natural world for which the artist developed an international reputation.  These album leaf paintings highlight Chao Shao-an’s remarkable ability to capture the essence of its subtle moments in nature through vibrant brushwork and coloration.

The artist came of age in the southern Chinese following the collapse of China’s last imperial dynasty and began his first apprenticeship in ink painting under the Lingnan School of painting -- famous for creatively blending international painting methods and materials onto a foundation of traditional Chinese technique. 

From the 1930s-1960s, Chao Shao-an traveled for solo and group exhibitions across Asia, Europe, and the United States. He settled permanently in Hong Kong in 1948 and established the Lingnan Art Studio in his residence. There, he mentored students in the Lingnan method and ensured its place as one of the most influential styles of twentieth century Chinese ink painting.

In a remarkable continuation of Chao’s international legacy, two generations of his descendants have attended the University of Notre Dame and have made this distinguished exhibition a possibility.  

The exhibition is curated by Visiting Teaching Professor of Asian Art, Fletcher Coleman, from the Department of Art, Art History & Design, and made possible through the partnership of the Liu Institute for Asia and Asian Studies.