For Students

Past Exhibitions: 2010

Tradition Transformed: Chang Ku-nien, Master Painter of the 20th Century

January 23–April 18, 2010

This exhibition features the work of Chang Ku-nien (1906–1987), a versatile and proficient practioner of the ancient tradition of Chinese painting, and explores his development as an artist over a lifetime.

Trained in Shanghai, the versatile Chang resettled in Taiwan after the political upheaval of 1949. This experience compelled him to carry on the tradition of Chinese painting, which was considerably diminished in China during the Cultural Revolution. A member of the fabled Seven Friends Painting Society in Taiwan, Chang responded dynamically to the vitality of his new environment and second homeland, where he freely experimented with new techniques to portray local nature and landscape themes. In his later years, he traveled between Taiwan and the United States and created a highly expressive, personal, and sensitive vision of the landscapes of North America.

Many of the paintings presented here are gifts to the Museum of Art from Dr. Cheng-Yang Chang and his wife, the late Mrs. Shirley Chang, Chang Ku-nien’s son and daughter-in-law, and include monumentally scaled works that can be presented only rarely due to their fragility and size. The exhibition is accompanied by the first publication to be produced by an American museum about the artist’s life and work.

This exhibition is made possible in part by the E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Foundation, the University of Michigan Office of the Provost, the UM Center for Chinese Studies, and the Blakemore Foundation. Additional support was provided by Mary Palmer and the George Dewey and Mary J. Krumrine Endowment.

Autumn Scene at North Michigan

張穀年    湖光秋色
Chang, Ku-nien (1906 – 1987)
Autumn Scene at North Michigan
Framed, ink and color on paper (frame: 36 x 64 in)
Ptg: 68 x 138 cm
Dr. Marcus Chao

Taiwan Cross-Island Highway – section 1

張穀年    臺灣橫貫公路圖
Chang, Ku-nien (1906 – 1987)
Taiwan Cross-Island Highway – section 1
4 hanging scroll as a panel, ink and color on paper (to be remounted)
Ptg: 152 x 82.5 cm
UMMA Gift of Cheng-yang and Shirley Chang


張穀年 驚濤拍岸 (蘇花公路)
Chang Ku-nien
Roaring Waves along Suhua Road
Hanging scroll, ink on paper
Collection of Dr. Cheng-Yang Chang


張穀年    嬉春
Chang, Ku-nien (1906 – 1987)
Songbirds in Spring
Unmounted scroll, ink and color on paper (frame: 20 x 24 in)
Ptg: 41.2 x 26 cm
Board: 87 x 44.4 cm
Dr. CY Chang