Cheng Shi-fan, known as “Cheng Tze-zhen” and styled himself as “Cheng Ru-pu,” was born in Hsinchu in 1915. In 1923, Cheng entered The First Elementary School and was imparted with rudimentary knowledge of arts by his teacher Li Che-fan. In 1930, he entered The Second Normal School of Taipei where he received teachings from Ishikawa Kinichiro and Ohara Tadashi and built up good fundamental skills as a painter. Though Cheng never went to Japan to study painting, he had experiences in various professional fields; he was an elementary school teacher, a journalist, a magazine editor, an art critic, and a researcher in a bank. The variety of his professional experience was rare among his artist predecessors. His in-depth researches for art theories all came from his own studies through readings and his self-teachings. He was associated with his peer painters who came to study in Japan such as Li Shih-chiao, Yang San-lang, Li Mei-shu, and others who mutually encouraged each other. His devotion for the arts was incomparable among his peer artists. From 1935 on until 1990, Cheng participated in “Tai-yang Art Exhibitions” successively. His insistence and perseverance on self-training brought about his achievements for a unique painting style.
The original work title is Downtown Area. The painting won the second prize of “Chairman Award” in the 13th “Taiwan Provincial Fine Arts Exhibition.” Later on, the title was changed into Ximending and collected by the National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts in 1990. In this painting, Cheng renounced realistic sketching style and went on to organize the canvas with compositions of bold dark lines and flat color graphics. Though this work is considered a magnum opus of Cheng’s “abstract series,” one can still vaguely see the figures of cityscapes in it. Cheng presents the busy street views with strong and bright colors. The composition of the painting is like blossoming flowers—the glamorous and fantastic colors competing with each other and fully occupy the viewer’s sight. Cheng skillfully applies bold dark lines to roughly sketch objects, like colorful stained glass, shining in light without losing its order.
Cheng never received academy training. Without restraint to conventional concepts of form and style, he was versatile in his creativities. He once commented: “Painting presents what you see and how you feel, as for technique; it depends on your own necessity. The kind of necessity one needs is similar to the lava of a volcano, when it can no longer be repressed, it erupts.” He presents his inner feelings with his subjective point of view and replaces a representative creativity of realistic sketches for objective matters. He classifies concepts of this complicated painting style into three major points. First, color is the performance a painter does to the composition of paintings. Second, lines are the advantages easily handled by oriental artists. Third, light neutralizes and contrasts colors. All these ideas summarize his experiences in his experiments in styles of paintings. Though those ideas may not prove to be extraordinary comparing with many concepts relating to the art of paintings, Cheng however is able to fully combine the three concepts into his artwork and comes up with a unique style combining colors, lines and lights.
|Medium / Classification：||Oil paints and Acrylic colors|
|Life-span：||1915 - 2006|
|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|