Luis Chan (1905-1995) Luis Chan was an eccentric Hong Kong genius who, as one of the first generation of Chinese modern painters, has become legendary in the history of Chinese contemporary art. The full corpus of Luis Chan's work in his long artistic life is breathtaking in scope. Chan was born in Panama in 1905 to Cantonese parents, and settled in Hong Kong with his family in 1910. As a landscape painter from the late 1920s to 1960, Chan developed a lively English landscape style and used to go on painting expeditions around Hong Kong, sketching watercolours that captured the rich and varied life of the enclave. By the late 1930s Chan had become known locally as the 'King of Watercolour'. Together with artists Lee Byng (Li Bing) and Yee Bon (Yu Ben), he was also hailed as one of the 'Three Masters' of Hong Kong painting.Read More
In the 1950s, Luis Chan abandoned his orthodox style and entered a period of intense experimentation with a wide spectrum of international avant-garde styles, from Abstraction to Pop and Psychedelia. In the late 1960s, Luis Chan underwent dramatic transformations in his visual rhetoric; inspired by the hustle and bustle of Hong Kong life, his landscape fantasies reach into the deep recesses of the subconscious collective mind of the city. This intensely idiosyncratic and creative outburst continued through the 1970s and 80s into a whole range of late paintings that are fantastic and cosmic in scope, with a wild visual logic all their own. Luis Chan was also a widely published art critic and writer, a renowned social figure and a seminal catalyst in Hong Kong's art circle. From his first solo debut exhibition in 1933 until his final show in 1993, Luis Chan presented 47 solo exhibitions over his long career and published countless articles on modern art.
Text courtesy Hanart TZ Gallery.