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Yang Hsien-Min Remembrance Exhibit

Internationally Known Artist

Master Hsien-Min Yang, a renowned Chinese American painter and resident of Montgomery County, Maryland for 35 years, passed away on January 7, 2011, at the National Lutheran Home in Rockville.  He was 78.


Quite apart from the usual landscapes, flowers, lotuses, horses, goldfish, and the like, Yang was best known for his profound and warm depiction of ordinary people and daily life in traditional Chinese homes, villages, and town squares, earning him the nickname of “Chinese Norman Rockwell”.


His most epic accomplishment was a 70ft-by-6ft scroll entitled “New Spring Celebration on Treasure Island” depicting typical lunar new year activities in a bustling village in Taiwan.  Complete with some 2000 human characters doing various things, it is often compared with another historic painting entitled “Ching Ming Shan Ho Tu” at the National Palace Museum in Taipei that depicted activities on the annual Ching Ming Festival in a village alongside a river in traditional China.  Master Yang’s New Spring work was once shown in the White House.


He was also known for his artwork for special issues of the National Geographic magazine on the various ethnic groups and the Terra Cotta tomb soldiers of China.  Additionally, he did illustrative artwork for the National Park Service at selected visitor centers.  In 1998, the U. S. Postal Service issued a souvenir calendar using 13 of his paintings.


For ordinary folk life, his blending of the elderly and children, such as a grandpa playing chess with a grand¬child, was particularly well-liked by his viewers because it often reminded them of their own childhood.  Another favorite theme was a group of common folks congregating and shooting the breeze under a village tree.  The facial expressions of people invariably conveyed all the kind and simple folk qualities.  His paintings have been collected by prominent people who admire Chinese culture such as Nelson Rockefeller, Walter Cronkite, et al.


Born in China in 1932, Yang moved to Taiwan in 1949 and finished his art education at a government-sponsored school. After graduation, in addition to paintings, he also did artistic set design work for the budding television industry on the island in the early 70s.  Since moving to the U.S. in 1974, he concentrated on his painting, exhibition, and teaching.  However, as a devout Christian practicing modesty and humility, he never promoted himself.  Still many art galleries and cultural organizations that knew of his reputation, both here and abroad, invited him to give individual exhibits, including an annual show at the University Club in downtown Washington.  Some of his paintings and prints are still available through the Greenwich Workshop in Connecticut.  He was also generous with his time in giving seminars and live demonstrations.

 

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