Born to a family of scholar-officials at the twilight of the Qing dynasty, C. C. Wang (Wang Jiqian 王己千, 1907–2003) mastered the traditional ink and brush techniques in Republican Shanghai and immigrated to New York City in 1949. There he sought to preserve the tradition of classical Chinese painting through engagement with new ideas, materials, and forms. Drawing inspiration from past masters in the history of Chinese painting, as well as New York’s artistic climate in the wake of World War II, Wang advanced breakthrough transformations in ink painting.
C. C. Wang is best known as a preeminent twentieth-century connoisseur and collector of pre-modern Chinese art, a reputation that often overshadows his own artistic achievements. Held twenty years after the artist’s death, C. C. Wang: Lines of Abstraction recenters Wang’s extraordinary career on his own artistic practice to reveal an original quest for tradition and innovation in the global twentieth century. Spanning seven decades, the exhibition focuses on the artist’s distinctive synthesis of Chinese ink painting and American postwar abstraction.
C. C. Wang: Lines of Abstraction is organized by Hunter College Art Galleries and was curated by Wen-shing Chou and Daniel M. Greenberg with Hans Hofmann Graduate Curatorial Fellow Margaret Liu Clinton and was developed through a two-semester curatorial seminar led by Professor Wen-shing Chou with MA Art History students Thais Bignardi-Engstrom, Carolyn Bishop, Rawls Bolton, Jeremy Gloster, Sophie Kaufman, Emerald Lucas, Lindsey Poremba, and Mia Ye.