Degree Year


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)




Paul Arnold


Chinese painting, Art, Taiwan, Western influence, Traditional, China


This study is based on interviews with the painters, the limited literature which has been published in English or Chinese on art topics in Taiwan, and mainly on the study of the works in the painters' studios and at exhibitions.

Basic to such an investigation are certain questions regarding the relation of these young artists to traditional Chinese painting: on what basis can these painters be aligned with Chinese tradition; is it not possible that they are so influenced by the western 'isms' that they should simply be called Chinese who paint western style pictures; is it necessary to make such distinctions on cultural lines; is there agreement that certain qualities are inherently Chinese?

There is no agreement among the painters themselves or their critics about the issue of whether they can legitimately claim to be the rejuvenators of Chinese painting. To some the desire to be accepted as contemporary and Chinese is the major goal; to others it is a meaningless debate for the literary magazines and should be kept out of any criticism of their work, which they believe is valid and strong no matter how it is labeled. The latter feel that they themselves are Chinese, so of course, their painting is Chinese painting.

Another equally complex problem we must try to come to grips with in this study is western influence. The sociological factors of western influence should be distinguished from purely art influences. The problem concerns what has happened since a culture with a tradition of thousands of years has felt the impact of western ways. Today the contact has been deepened to the point of dependence.

Ideally, since my thesis is that western influence has been a constructive one in Taiwan, the same kind of study should be done on the influence of western-rooted Communism on the Mainland of China. Since it is impossible to move freely on the Mainland, we can only examine those publications and reproductions of contemporary painting which the Mainland authorities allow to be sold in Hong Kong bookstores and try to piece together general trends which can be compared with the Taiwan study.