Heavenly Path

Artist: Hung Hsien (China, active United States, born 1933)
Historical period(s)
Modern period, 1971
Ink and color on paper
H x W (painting): 143 x 76.9 cm (56 5/16 x 30 1/4 in)
United States
Credit Line
Gift of Mary Michieli Rollins
Arthur M. Sackler Gallery
Accession Number
On View Location
Currently not on view

Hanging scroll

China, Modern period (1912 - present), United States
Provenance research underway.

Born in 1933 into a family with strong interests in traditional Chinese art and culture, Hung Hsien moved with her parents during China’s political upheavals to Taiwan in 1948. In 1958, she took up residence in Evanston, Illinois, and as can be seen in Heavenly Path, her exposure to Western Abstract Expressionism proved a catalyst to define a new and personal style of painting poised between East and West. She began frequenting galleries and was attracted to Mark Tobey, Arshile Gorky, Willem de Kooning and Henry Moore (the soft curves of the latter’s sculpture are readily apparent in many of Hung Hsien’s works from the 70s). She also began to be attracted by Japanese prints by Hiroshige and Kokusai. After briefly trying oil painting in the mid-60s, she again took up the Chinese brush, but this time she was ready to attempt a synthesis of East and West by combining lyrical Chinese brush strokes with the use of non-representational elements--blocks of color and graphic patterns arranged in subtle variations--which is what Hung Hsien values about the Western Abstract Expressionist movement.

Collection Area(s)
Chinese Art
Web Resources
Whistler's Neighborhood
Google Cultural Institute
SI Usage Statement

Usage Conditions Apply

There are restrictions for re-using this image. For more information, visit the Smithsonian's Terms of Use page.

The information presented on this website may be revised and updated at any time as ongoing research progresses or as otherwise warranted. Pending any such revisions and updates, information on this site may be incomplete or inaccurate or may contain typographical errors. Neither the Smithsonian nor its regents, officers, employees, or agents make any representations about the accuracy, reliability, completeness, or timeliness of the information on the site. Use this site and the information provided on it subject to your own judgment. The Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery welcome information that would augment or clarify the ownership history of objects in their collections.