Born in China’s Guangdong province, Chao Shao-an (1905–1998) fused traditional painting techniques with his keen observations of nature and his realistic sketching into a seamless style. His innovative works became part of the canon of Chinese painting and provided momentum to the Chinese modernist art movement in the aftermath of the Qing dynasty (1644–1911). Chao imbued his paintings with bold hues and brushstrokes both strong and delicate, resulting in stylized images that capture in detail the form and spirit of his subjects in the moment.
The artist traveled extensively during his lengthy career—within his native China as well as throughout Southeast Asia and Europe—and sketched with dedication along the way. Exhibitions in major cities often coincided with or followed his travels. During his lifetime, Chao saw his paintings exhibited as far away as North America and Australia; they have been showcased in museums all over the world. In China the paintings of Chao Shao-an are regarded as national treasures.
The thirty postcards in this book contain reproductions of images in the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco—one of the largest museums in the Western world devoted exclusively to Asian art—housing more than 17,000 objects spanning some 6,000 years of history.