Art Sunday #144: Chen Yifei


Chen Yifei (April 12, 1946 – April 10, 2005) was a famous Chinese classic-style painter, art director and film director.

Chen Yifei is a central figure in the development of Chinese oil painting and is one of China’s most renowned contemporary artists. Although he was denounced for “capitalist behavior” Chen’s obvious talent and mastery of oil painting techniques won him recognition by the authorities. Chen soon became one of the leading painters of the Cultural Revolution. He was famous for his big Mao Zedong portraits and depiction of grand heroic events of the modern Chinese nation. After the Cultural Revolution, Chen became the forerunner of a new age in Chinese aesthetics, promoting a new sense of modernity and lifestyle in his paintings as well as in fashion, cinema and design. In his oil paintings Chen abandoned his uncritical glorification of the party to blend realistic technique and romanticism with Chinese subject matter, especially melancholic and lonely women in traditional dresses. His characteristic “Romantic Realism” paintings use dark and dense colors and convey a sense of richness and integrity.

Sources: and



Art Sunday #143: Chien-Ying Chang – Parakeets and Magnolia


Chien-Ying Chang (25 May 1913 – January 2004) was a Chinese-born painter who settled in Britain in 1946.

She was the daughter of a customs official and attended Wuxi secondary school, after which she studied Art at the Nanjing University, there meeting her future husband, Cheng-Wu Fei. Influenced by Xu Beihong, she helped him found the China Institute of Fine Arts in Chongking. He had studied western painting techniques in London after the First World War, and urged her to do so too. She and Cheng-Wu Fei subsequently won British Council grants to study in Britain, both enrolling at the Slade School of Art from 1947–50 and working under Randolph Schwabe and William Coldstream.



Art Sunday #142: Fernando Amorsolo – Noonday Meal


Fernando Amorsolo y Cueto (May 30, 1892 – April 24, 1972) was one of the most important artists in the history of painting in the Philippines. Amorsolo was a portraitist and painter of rural Philippine landscapes. He is popularly known for his craftsmanship and mastery in the use of light.

Amorsolo is best known for his illuminated landscapes, which often portrayed traditional Filipino customs, culture, fiestas and occupations. His pastoral works presented “an imagined sense of nationhood in counterpoint to American colonial rule” and were important to the formation of Filipino national identity. He was educated in the classical tradition and aimed “to achieve his Philippine version of the Greek ideal for the human form.” In his paintings of Filipina women, Amorsolo rejected Western ideals of beauty in favor of Filipino ideals and was fond of basing the faces of his subjects on members of his family.



Art Sunday #141: Carrie Mae Weems


Carrie Mae Weems (born April 20, 1953) is an American artist who works with text, fabric, audio, digital images, and installation video but is best known for her work in the field of photography. Her award-winning photographs, films, and videos have been displayed in over 50 exhibitions in the United States and abroad and focus on serious issues that face African Americans today, such as racism, sexism, politics, and personal identity.

She has said, “Let me say that my primary concern in art, as in politics, is with the status and place of Afro-Americans in our country.” More recently however, she expressed that “Black experience is not really the main point; rather, complex, dimensional, human experience and social inclusion … is the real point.”



Art Sunday #140: Alma Thomas – March on Washington


Alma Woodsey Thomas (September 22, 1891 – February 24, 1978) was an African-American Expressionist painter and art educator.  She lived and worked primarily in Washington, D.C. and the Washington Post described her as a force in the Washington Color School.  The Wall Street Journal describes her as a previously “underappreciated artist” who is more recently recognized for her “exuberant” works, noteworthy for their pattern, rhythm and color.


Art Sunday #139: Kerry James Marshall


Kerry James Marshall (born October 17, 1955) is an American artist born in Birmingham, Alabama. He grew up in South Central Los Angeles and now lives in Chicago, Illinois, where he previously taught at the School of Art and Design at the University of Illinois at Chicago. He is a 1978 graduate of Otis College of Art and Design.

Although he currently lives and works in Chicago, Illinois, his time spent in Watts, Los Angeles, California, where the Black Powerand Civil Rights movements had a significant impact on his paintings. Strongly influenced by his experiences as a young man, he developed a signature style during his early years as an artist that involved the use of extremely dark, essentially black figures. These images represent his perspective of African Americans with separate and distinct inner and outer appearances. At the same time, they confront racial stereotypes within contemporary American society. This common theme appeared continuously in his work throughout the subsequent decades, especially in the 1980s and 1990s.

While earning his BFA from Otis College of Art and Design in Los Angeles, he worked not have a representational image or a specific story to tell,” over abstractionThus, Marshall still retains the political content so important to the Civil Rights Movement while painting a narrative through mural-sized pieces.

Source: and


Art Sunday #138: Sam Gilliam – Paper Theatre

Gilliam abstraction

Sam Gilliam (born November 30, 1933) is a Color Field painter and lyrical abstractionist artist. Gilliam, an African American, is associated with the Washington Color School, a group of Washington, D.C. artists that developed a form of abstract art from color field painting in the 1950s and 1960s. His works have also been described as belonging to Abstract Expressionism and Lyrical Abstraction. He works on stretched, draped and wrapped canvas, and adds sculptural 3D elements. He is recognized as the first artist to introduce the idea of a draped, painted canvas hanging without stretcher bars around 1965, which was a major contribution to the Color Field School.

In his more recent work, Gilliam has worked with polypropylene, computer generated imaging, metallic and iridescent acrylics, handmade paper, aluminum, steel, plywood and plastic.



Art Sunday #137: Pío Collivadino – La hora del almuerzo


Pío Collivadino (August 20, 1869 – August 26, 1945) was an Argentine painter of the post-impressionist school. Colllivadino attended three international festivals in Venice, from 1903 to 1907, where his La hora del reposo (Workday Break, 1903), also known as La hora del almuerzo (Lunch break time) earned a gold medal.



Art Sunday #136: Emily Carr – Odds and Ends


Emily Carr (December 13, 1871 – March 2, 1945) was a Canadian artist and writer inspired by the Indigenous peoples of the Pacific Northwest Coast.  One of the first painters in Canada to adopt a Modernist and Post-Impressionist painting style, Carr did not receive widespread recognition for her work until late in her life. As she matured, the subject matter of her painting shifted from aboriginal themes to landscapes—forest scenes in particular.  As a writer, Carr was one of the earliest chroniclers of life in British Columbia. The Canadian Encyclopedia describes her as a “Canadian icon”.



Art Sunday #135: Seymour Fogel – The Wealth of the Nation


Seymour Fogel (August 24, 1911 – December 4, 1984) was an American artist whose artistic output included social realist art early in the century, abstract art and expressionist art at mid-century, and transcendental art late in the century. His drive to experiment led him to work with expected media – oil paints, watercolors, and acrylics – as well as unconventional media such as glass, plastics, sand, and wax.

The murals Seymour Fogel executed for the PWAP expressed a persistent optimism – a faith in the institutions and qualities of the American character that many said had been trampled and destabilized by the Great Depression.

Fogel was, in this mural, illustrating Roosevelt’s dictum that “In our personal ambitions we are individualists. But in our seeking for economic and political progress as a nation, we all go up or else all go down as one people.”