Hongnian Zhang

Hongnian Zhang is a Chinese-American oil painter whose initial training at a Chinese art academy was interrupted by the Cultural Revolution in 1970. After four years in a forced labor camp he returned to Beijing and as the political climate shifted his career blossomed.

Appointed to the Beijing Art Academy, he created large-scale oil paintings that caught the public’s attention and heart. He was part of the development of scar art, an important artistic movement in China that examined the painful memories of the Cultural Revolution.

After completing his degree at The Central Academy of Fine Arts, he came to the United States in 1985 and participated in the groundbreaking exhibit Realism From China in 1986, which introduced Chinese oil painting to the Western world.

Today he paints images of Chinese and American history and daily life. He is currently working with other Chinese artists to establish an association for epic and historical painting. 

Zhang has taught oil painting in the graduate program of New York Academy of Art and at the Woodstock School of Art. He is also a professor at Fudan University’s Shanghai Institute of Visual Art. He divides his time between China and the United States.

He is coauthor, with his wife artist Lois Woolley, of The Yin/Yang of Painting.