Born October 22, 1928 in Tienjing, China
Resides in Albuquerque, New Mexico
A self-described "people painter", Zhang Wen Xin knows first hand the sacrifices and indignities wrought by social strife and political upheaval as well as the suffering that people often endure.
He remembers well how Japanese troops invaded Tienjing and Beijing in 1937, and the food shortages that forced his family's move to Manchuria. He remembers the fighting between Japanese and Russian forces in 1945 and the Communists' victory over the Nationalists in 1949, the same year he graduated from Northern China University with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in oil painting.
A recent profile in Southwest Art, noted Wen Xin was almost forced to abandon his art on three separate occasions because of the political unrest in his native country. "Yet each time he took it up again, without assurance that he could support himself and his family," the article noted.
To eat, he painted portraits of Lenin, Stalin and Chairman Mao. From 1951-1959, he worked in the People's Fine Art Studio, a department of China's Cultural Bureau. And he is one of the artists who designed the monument, Hero of People, in Beijing's Tiananmen Square.
With the beginnings of the Cultural Revolution in the mid-1960s, he began painting Chinese history. His paintings of village peasants reflect the beauty and grace he saw in their hearts. But the government considered them as "unfinished" and unworthy. In the 1980s, China's political mood relaxed, and he was able to move to Wyoming in 1987, and later to Albuquerque. Since then, there has been a rising interest in his works.
A prolific artist, Wen Xin once estimated he had produced some 300 pieces after only four years in America. His work is on display in Taos, Albuquerque, Denver, Jackson Hole and Park City, Jinzhou Cultural Palace, China's Liaoning Province, Jinzhou Cultural Palace, Shandoung Province, and the Habin Cultural Palace, Heilonging Province.
Wen Xin's work, a realistic portrayal of the character and meaning of his subjects, has received critical acclaim and wide appreciation from collectors the world over. In 1993, he was named a World Famous Artist by the World Modern Artists Dictionary and the Judgmentation Committee of China. In 1996, he was awarded the status of World Famous Chinese Artist and Best of Show from the Oil Painters of America, from whom he has received the title of Master Signature Painter.
He believes the unlimited freedom of expression he has found in the United States has given him a new perspective from which to reflect on the ever-changing face of China. As an artist, Wen Xin endeavors to "find the beauty that exists in this world and express it sincerely."
In 2005, Zhang Wen Xin returned to Beijing permanently to paint historic scenes of China and complete his autobiography and another book of images. He will not be sending work to the United States. We will miss him.