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 Series (1988), by Hon.


Biography

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

1956 Worked at the Hong Kong general Post Office, Hong Kong
Joined the Chinese Contemporary Artist’s Guild, Hong Kong

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

1965 Co-Founded the Circle Art Group (1964-1971), with seven painters and sculptors, Hong Kong

1966 First edition of silk screen prints Lotus Image published
1968 Completed his definitive work Bath of Fire
Visited the Venice Biennale, Italy; Documenta, Germany
Taught at Department of Extra Mural Studies, The University of Hong Kong

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
1972 Resigned from Hong Kong Post Office
Visited Henry Moore in Much hadham, UK; Zao Wou-ki in Paris, France
Travelled India  
1973-76 Travelled USA for six months every year, attended lectures by Motherwell, Allen Kaprow
Visited Mainland China

1976 Murals commissioned for the Hong Kong Convention & Exhibition Centre

1978 Travelled Mount Lu and met famous Chinese artists including Zhu Qizhan, Lu Yanshao, Cheng Shifa
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 Hong Kong Museum of Art

1992 Moves to Canada
1993 Last edition of silkscreen Time and New Height produced

1999 Documentary film Hon’s Art of Serigraphy produced by Hong Kong Heritage Museum

2000 Returns to Hong Kong with family

Seizure of stroke

Published catalogue Space and Passion: The Art of Hon Chi-fun, Hong Kong
2013 Awarded Medal of Honour by the Government of the Hong Kong SAR

2019 Passed away in Hong Kong

 
Selected Solo Exhibitions

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

2013

  • Hon Chi-fun: Early Landscapes on Board, University Museum and Art Gallery of the University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong
  • Hon 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

  • Space and Passion: The Art of Hong Chi-fun, Alisan Fine Arts, Hong Kong

1999

  • Recent Journeys and Interludes: Paintings by Hon Chi-fun, University Museum and Art Gallery, The University of Hong Kong

1996

  • Hong Kong Art: An Introduction in Toronto, Metro Toronto Convention Centre, Toronto, Canada

1988

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

1981

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

1977

  • American Library, Hong Kong

1975

  • Solo Exhibition of Silkscreen Prints, Extramural Studies Department, Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong

1974

  • City Museum & Art Gallery, Hong Kong

1971

  • City Hall, Hong Kong

1969

  • Willard Gallery, New York, USA

1968

  • American Library, Hong Kong

1963, 65

  • 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 ArtHong Kong Central Library, Hong Kong

2009

  • Selected Hong Kong Artists, Alisan Fine Arts, Hong Kong

2007

  • Celebrating 20 Years at Prince's Building, Alisan Fine Arts, Hong Kong

1995

  • Wonders of Chinese Abstraction, Alisan Fine Arts, Hong Kong

1989

  • Galerie Art East / Art West, Hamburg, Germany

1983

  • Contemporary Vision of Three Hong Kong Artists: Hon Chi-fun, Leung Kui-ting, Wong Cheung, Alisan Fine Arts, Hong Kong

1973

  • Hong Kong Contemporary Prints by Chinese Artists, Hong Kong Museum of Art, Hong Kong

1972

  • Contemporary Hong Kong ArtHong Kong Museum of Art, Hong Kong

1971

  • Hong Kong Art Today, travelling exhibition to four UK cities

1970

  • 19th National Print Exhibition, Brooklyn Museum, New York, USA
  • 2nd British International Print Biennial, Bradford, UK
  • 1st International Print Biennal Exhibition, Seoul, South Korea

1968

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

1967

  • Music & Fine Arts Festival, City Museum & Art Gallery, Hong Kong
  • Three Chinese Artists from Hong Kong and Taiwan: Hon Chi-fun, Jackson Yu, Chuang Che, 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 Asiatravelling exhibition in South East Asia

1964

  • 3rd International Salon of Paintings, Hong Kong

1962

  • City Hall Inaugural Group Show: Hong Kong Art TodayCity Museum & Art Gallery, Hong Kong

1960

  •  1st Hong Kong Arts Festival Group Exhibition, artists include Lui Shou-kwan, Kwong Yeu-ting, Star Ferry, 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, Hong Kong  

Deutsche Bank, Hong Kong              

Wing On Bank Ltd, Hong Kong        

Lehman Brothers, Hong Kong