Hon Chi-fun

1922-2019, Hong Kong

Introduction

Born in Hong Kong in 1922, and one of Hong Kong’s most iconic artists, Hon Chi-fun, is a self-taught artist who began painting in the 1950s. From an early age he practiced calligraphy and brush work with his siblings on stone slabs. By 1956, he had devoted himself to his art, while working at the Hong Kong General Post Office. It was during this period that he began to study Western art movements and became associated with two other famed Hong Kong artists, Luis Chan and Lui Shou-kwan. In 1964, he co-founded the Circle Art Group (1964-1971), and that same year was awarded the Gold Medal at the Third Hong Kong International Salon of Paintings. After the completion of his definitive work Bath of Fire (1968), a set of three oil and screen prints on canvas, he began his first grand tour of Europe. He visited the Venice Biennale in Italy and Documenta in Germany. In 1969, he was awarded the John D. Rockefeller III Fellowship Fund, and lived in New York for a year, after which he toured South America and India. These experiences abroad and the direct contact with a myriad of artistic traditions served to expand his aesthetic knowledge. Known for his paintings of circles, Hon once declared: “The circle is me.”

 

When asked to reminisce about the gallery, Hon said that “I remember that it was one morning during the early 1980s when Alice came to visit our studio for the first time. At the time, it was rare that a person of Chinese ethnicity knew how to promote Hong Kong modern art, [and] Mrs. King was [the exception] and a pioneer. She has discovered important artists, who might have otherwise have been forgotten, such as overseas women artists from the early years.” Alisan Fine Arts began showing his work in 1983, and since then has held two solo exhibitions for the artist, in 2000 and 2005 respectively.

 

Major retrospectives of Hon’s work have been held in 1999 by the University Museum and Art Gallery of the University of Hong Kong, in 2005 at the Hong Kong Museum of Art, and in 2007 at the CityU Gallery at the City University of Hong Kong. His works have been collected by Hong Kong Museum of Art; Hong Kong Heritage Museum; University of Hong Kong; Hong Kong Land; Hong Kong MTR Corporation; Deutsche Bank, Hong Kong; National City Bank of Chicago, United States. In the lobby of Jardine House, Hong Kong, hangs a monumental mural-size painting, titled The Making of the Spheres IV Swift Thunder (1988), by Hon.

Biography
1922 Born in Hong Kong
1941 Graduated from Wah Yan College, Hong Kong

1956 Joined the Chinese Contemporary Artist’s Guild, Hong Kong

1964 Gold medal winner in the 3rd Hong Kong International Salon of Paintings

1965 Founded the Circle Art Group, with seven painters and sculptors, Hong Kong

1966 First edition of silk screen prints Lotus Image published

1969 First Hong Kong awardee of the JDR III Fund Fellowship

Studied lithography and etching at Pratt Graphic  Center, New York, USA

1970 Visited South America

1976 Murals commissioned for the Hong Kong Convention & Exhibition Centre

1989 Murals commissioned for Jardine House, Hong Kong

Murals commissioned for the Hong Kong Exhibition and Convention Centre

Documentary film Hon’s Orbit produced by Urban Council, Hong Kong

1992 Moves to Canada

1999 Documentary film Hon’s Art of Serigraphy produced by the Regional Council

2000 Returns to Hong Kong with family

Seizure of stroke

Published catalogue Space and Passion: The Art of Hon Chi-fun, Hong Kong

2019 Passed away in Hong Kong

 
Selected Solo Exhibitions

2019
  • A Story of Light: Hon Chi-fun, Asia Society Hong Kong Centre, Hong Kong   

2016

  • Hon Chi-fun: Early landscapes on board, University Museum and Art Gallery of the University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong
  • Hong Chin Fun's Perspective @ 91, Hongkong Land and the Asian Cultural Council, the Rotunda Exchange Square, Hong Kong

2007

  • Conceptual Feeling beyond ImagesThe Works of Hon Chi-fun, CityU Gallery, City University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong  

2005

  • Secret Code, Hong Kong Museum of Art, Hong Kong
  • Hon Chi-fun: A Hong Kong Icon, Alisan Fine Arts, Hong Kong

2000

  • Alisan Fine Arts, Hong Kong

1988

  • Over and Yonder: Paintings by Hon Chi-fun, University Museum and Art Gallery of the University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong

1983

  • Alisan Fine Arts, Hong Kong

1981

  • Exhibition of Painting by Hon Chi-fun, Hong Kong Arts Centre, Hong Kong

1977

  • American Library, Hong Kong

1975

  • Extramural Studies Department, Chinese University ofHong Kong, Hong Kong

1974

  • City Museum & Art Gallery, Hong Kong

1971

  • City Hall, Hong Kong

1970

  • Willard Gallery, New York, USA

1963

  • Chatham Galleries, Hong Kong  


Selected Group Exhibitions

2020

  • Uniquely Hong Kong: A Celebration of Hong Kong Art, Alisan Fine Arts, Hong Kong  

2019

  • Hong Kong Experience • Hong Kong Experiment, Hong Kong Museum of Art, Hong Kong 

2018

  • Asian Cultural Council Fellows Annual Exhibition 2018: A Charity Exhibition of Works by ACC Alumni, Alisan Fine Arts, Hog Kong 

2016

  • Celebrating 35 Years of Promoting Chinese Contemporary Art, Hong Kong Central Library, Hong Kong

 2009    Selected Hong Kong Artists, Alisan Fine Arts, Hong Kong 
1999    Recent Journeys and Interludes, University Museum and Art Gallery,University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong
1989    Galerie Art East / Art West, Hamburg, Germany
1973    Hong Kong Contemporary Prints by Chinese Artists, Hong Kong Museum ofArt, Hong Kong
1972    Contemporary Hong Kong Art, Hong Kong Museum of Art, Hong Kong
1971    Hong Kong Art Today travelling exhibition to four U.K. cities

1970    19th National Print Exhibition, Brooklyn Museum, New York, USA

            Second British International Print Biennial, Bradford, England

            First International Print Biennal Exhibition, Seoul, South Korea

1968    American Library, Hong Kong

            Circle Group show, City Museum & Art Gallery, Hong Kong

1967    Music & Fine Arts Festival, City Museum & Art Gallery, Hong Kong
            Three Chinese Artists, First National City Bank, New York, USA

1966    Chatham Galleries, Hong Kong

            Fairleigh Dickinson University, New Jersey, USA

            Circle Group Show, Manila, Philippines

1965    Contemporary Art in Asia, travelling exhibition in S.E. Asia
1964    Third International Salon of Paintings, Hong Kong

1962    Selected for the City Hall inaugural group show: Hong Kong Art Today, City Museum & Art Gallery, Hong Kong
1960    Group show at Hong Kong Arts Festival, Hong Kong

Selected Public Collections
National City Bank of Chicago, Chicago, USA 

Hong Kong Museum of Art, Hong Kong              

Hong Kong Heritage Museum, Hong Kong                  

The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong        

Hongkong Land Property Company Ltd, Hong Kong        

Hong Kong NWS Holdings Ltd, Hong Kong                

Hong Kong MTR Corporation, Hong Kong               

British Amercian Tobacco Hong Kong Ltd  

Deutsche Bank, Hong Kong              

Wing On Bank Ltd, Hong Kong        

Lehman Brothers, Hong Kong