HongNian Zhang is an internationally known Chinese American artist who works in the Western academic tradition. His paintings are in private, corporate and museum collections in America, Europe and Asia. His work was included in Sotheby's first American auction of Chinese contemporary art, held in New York City in March 2006.
Born in Nanjing, China, Zhang's artistic training began at age nine. At fourteen he was the top student accepted to the Central Art Academy Affiliated High School in Beijing, China. After graduation, the Cultural Revolution shut down the schools and Zhang was sent with his class to the remote countryside for four years of forced labor. Upon returning to Beijing in 1973, he became the youngest artist employed by the Beijing Art Academy, and in 1979 the youngest member ever elected to the All China Artists Association. As leader of the "Scar" art period, an important artistic movement in China exposing the painful memories of the Cultural Revolution, three of Zhang's paintings were acquired for the Chinese National Art Gallery's permanent collection. In 1984, he was accepted to the highly selective MFA program at the Central Art Academy.
In 1985, Zhang came to the United States to continue his study in art. Represented by New York'sGrand Central Gallery, Zhang was in their acclaimed 1986 show, Realism from China, the first exhibit to introduce Chinese oil painting to the Western world.
After moving to Woodstock, New York in 1991, Zhang continued working in the realism tradition, yet expanding his subjects from Tibetan to a wide range that include Chinese and American historical paintings, and contemporary American subjects. He taught for several years in the graduate program of the New York Academy, and at the Woodstock School of Art. His works have appeared in many publications, including National Geographic, Fine Art Connoisseur, and Artist magazines. National Geographic Society acquired four of his Chinese historical paintings for their permanent collection. Zhang and his wife, Lois Woolley, co-wrote The Yin Yang of Painting, which presents his unique artistic approach and style for oil painting.