Animal Paintings

Huang Chou (1925 - 1996)

Hanging Scroll, Chinese Ink and Color on Rice Paper, 27.5 x 18 in., ( 70 x 46 cm.)

Chu Griffis Collection #67Huang Chou was born into a poor farm family in North China. He could not finish junior high school, nor did he have formal art training. In 1949, he joined the Red Army and was stationed in the remote region of Chinese Turkistan, now called Xinjiang. For five years in the art section of the army, he prepared to be a serious artist and he succeeded!

In this new era of Chinese history, he lived among the people and shared their enthusiasm. Huang Chou sketched everything he saw in this Minority Autonomous Region: the lives of the peasants, their crops, festivals and colorful dancers. The slogan then was "Art is to portray life." He did precisely that.

One common subject in Xinjiang was the donkey. Donkeys were everywhere as carriers and farm animals. He sketched and sketched. His original plan was to sketch donkeys as a means of improving his painting skill. After years of practice, the donkey became his favorite subject. Finally he won a reputation as a "Donkey Artist." With this same skill he broadened his area of expertise to include horses, camels… Huang is not interested in outward beauty as he paints figures or animals, nor does he dwell on details. Huang Chou wishes to present the essence of life as he sees it.

I met him in 1980. He struck me as a candid, direct and extroverted person. A few years ago a museum was built in Beijing in his honor. He directed the museum until his death in 1996.

Purchased with funds provided by Martha and Robert Farwell.