Lin Ko-kung was born in 1901, a descendent of one of Taiwan’s five prominent clans – the Lin family of Banciao, after Lin Ben-yuan. In 1921 he entered the University of Cambridge to study law and economics, whilst taking courses at the Cambridge School of Art. In 1925 Lin went on to study at the Slade School of Art, University College London; in the same year he was selected to exhibit at the Royal Society of British Artists. In 1929 Lin wedded a Swiss lady Heidi in Geneva. His works Nude and A Beauty under Moonlight were selected, respectively in 1931 and 1935, for the fifth and ninth “Taiwan Fine Arts Exhibition”. In 1936 Lin was appointed as principal of Xiamen Art Academy; between 1963 and 1973, he taught at the College of Chinese Culture (predecessor of the present-day Chinese Culture University). In 1973 Lin was appointed as a member of the jury for the “São Paulo Art Biennial.” After his retirement in 1991, Lin moved to New York. He passed away in 1992, at the age of 92.
From 1958, Lin Ko-kung’s paintings of nudes began to develop an abstract expression, almost like overlapping shadows. Elongated body proportions, wavy curves, overlapping shapes and contrasting colours compose an undulating image of spatial vision. His work Nudity used the white colour to depict a young woman’s body; swift, swerving and overlapping brushstrokes brought out the subject’s silhouette and pose. The young woman’s snowy-white and hazy figure emerged amongst a wavering image, which seemingly confuses and yet compels the gaze to return again in search of a focus on the subject. This is typical of Lin’s creative language in portraiture – the technique of using an assembly of images on varied thicknesses of matching colour tones, together with complex and rhythmic compositions, in order to bring out the palpable quality of the subject-character. In the bottom-left corner there is an elongated Lin white, which was Lin’s usual style of signature. In the bottom-right corner the dark shades of overlapping blue and green, drawing attention in contrast to the white at the bottom-left corner, help to create an impression of spatial depth. There is also a sense of gentle, forward movement in the woman’s posture, with her right leg lifting and leaning towards the left.
Lin Ko-kung was born into the Lin family of Banciao, most prominent and wealthy in Taiwan. His privileged upbringing and natural talent contributed to distinguish Lin as one of the very few pioneering Taiwanese artists that directly assimilated techniques from the West into his creative work. Lin Ko-kung had great faith in art and considered re-invigorating the art scene as his duty. In his creative approach, Lin maintained a bearing of the intellectual-literati, a kind of humility, ease and open-mindedness; he drew inspiration from understanding and observation of Nature. Lin Ko-kung’s work prioritised very much the distribution and structure of lines, which were intended to be rich with variations of light and dark, void and solid; he excelled in composition with linear components, creating a kind of imagery that are sombre, concise, highly-saturated, of strong contrasts, and rich in transitions – a style that exudes an abundance of emotions and exuberance.
|Medium / Classification：||Oil paints and Acrylic colors|
|Life-span：||1901 - 1992|
|Collection Unit：||National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts|
|Contact method for authorization：||
Guide to the Use of Image Files and Data from the Online Collection Database
|Related Exhibition：||Unique Vision Ⅱ：Highlights from the National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts Collection|