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Chen Chi (Chinese/American, 1912-2005), View of New York, 1949, watercolor on paper, signed

Chen Chi (Chinese/American, 1912-2005), View of New York, 1949, watercolor on paper, signed

Item Description:

Signed and dated "Chen Chi 49" and with red chop mark lower right, matted, glazed and framed


Sheet appears rippled in the frame. Slight toning. Please contact for specific condition questions and to request a full condition report. Not examined out of the frame.Lofty does not guarantee the condition or authenticity of frames.


Gift from the artist to the grandfather of the current owner

Inherited by descent


Sight: Height 16 in. x Width 12 in.

Frame: Height 26 in. x Width 22 in.

About The Artist:

Chen Chi was a Chinese American watercolor artist and poet born in Wuxi, China in 1912. In about 1930, Chen became active in the "White Swan Club", a group for avant-garde artists in Shanghai, China where he was a student. The Club encouraged the influence of Western art and ideas in combination with Eastern traditions. As a young man, he witnessed the Japanese occupation of Shanghai in 1932 before coming to the United States as part of a cultural exchange program in 1947. Though he had first exhibited in China prior to coming to the United States, Chen's work was widely exhibited and celebrated among the Americans. In 1964, Chen was granted United States citizenship and lived and worked in New York City.

Chen's work blends his Chinese roots with Impressionism, an early twentieth century French art movement that valued broad, expressive brushstrokes and the careful and accurate depiction of light and shadow. Like the Impressionists, Chen painted "en plein air", or outdoors. Landscapes were his signature works and he painted scenes in all seasons. Chen followed the Chinese tradition of depicting nature and capturing its general essence or feeling, while focusing on mainly Western subjects. His works border on the abstract, as Chen simplified subjects to create balanced compositions. The contemplative and inspirational artist believed that artists were called upon for a higher purpose and that art could potentially generate world peace.

A prolific artist who balanced between the East and West, Chen was the only artist who was invited to exhibit at the First World Cultural Summit in Versailles, France, in 2000. Among many other awards and honors, Chen was given an art museum named in his honor in 1999. The Chen Chi Fine Art Museum in Shanghai, China, is located at the Jiao Tong University.

In this 1949 work by Chen, the viewer is confronted with a scene of a busy street perhaps in front of the Empire State Building in New York City. The skyscraper looms above the passersby, partially obscured by clouds. In the foreground, Chen meticulously recorded the details of a woman's outfit and the undulating awning that leads the viewer to follow the lines of perspective. Chen's work recreates the city, but from a peaceful and tranquil vantage point.


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