Title: A group of small fish
Hanging scroll: ink and colors on paper
Dimensions: 17 in. (43.2 cm) wide
Gift of Benjamin Chou and Christina L. Fang
Object Number: 2005.085.003
Wang Yachen was a native of Anhui province who came to Shanghai alone to study painting at the age of seventeen. In 1916 he was accepted into the Tokyo Fine Arts School in Japan where he studied Western painting. After graduation he was employed to teach Western art in the Shanghai Art College. In 1928 Wang Yachen went to Europe to continue his education, pursuing an impressionistic style. On his return, he founded the Xinhua Academy in Shanghai, which was closed by the Japanese in 1938. In 1948 Wang again traveled to the United States, where he spent the latter part of his life as an artist and art educator. In 1980 Wang returned to his hometown, where he died peacefully three years later.
Having succeeded in Western painting, Wang Yachen also achieved great success in traditional Chinese ink painting and was especially fond of painting goldfish. His goldfish, Qi Baishi’s shrimp, and Xu Beihong’s horses are the so-called “Three Exquisite Ones” of the Chinese modern art world. ("Debating Art: Chinese Intellectuals at the Crossroads," curated by Yuhua Ding, with assistance by Elizabeth Emrich, and presented at the Johnson Museum February 2-July 8, 2018)
NOTE: This electronic record is compiled from historic documentation which may not reflect the Johnson Museum's complete or current knowledge of the object. Review and refinement of such records is ongoing.