Dong Xiwen – Fine Arts Professor Who Described the Province of Aba


A picture of Dong Xiwen in his late years.

A picture of Dong Xiwen in his late years.

Life and Carrer of Dong XiWen

Born in 1914, Shaoxing, Zhejiang Province, Dong Xiwen (董希文, 1914-1973), was a Central Academy of Fine Arts professor in Beijing.

In 1932 was admitted to the Department of Civil Engineering of Zhejiang University in Hangzhou, Suzhou following year was admitted to the College of Fine Arts and in 1934 the College of Art in Hangzhou (the most famous also today in China and located new the Hangzhou Lake).

In 1939 he left the country to reach Vietnam, from which he will return at the end of the same year.

In 1942 begans his travels to the Western provinces, first he went to Chongqing, and in 1943 following year to Dunhuang for a special project focus on copying the murals of Dunhuang caves, which will lead to a gallery in 1946 held “ Creative Exibition of the Copies of Dunhuang Frescos by Dong Xiwen Dunhuang in Lanzhou, in thethe same year he will be back in Beijing to teach at the National Beiping Art College.

Founding Cerimony

Founding Cerimony, painting by Dong Xiweng.

He served as professor of the Central Academy of Fine Arts and reached the higher fame in the early ’50s with his masterpieces of the “Founding Ceremony” (the speach of Mao Zedong declaring the foundation of People Republic of China in 1949 in Beijing’s Tian’anmen square) and “Spring in Tibet.”

As member of the Chinese Artists Association, he could also potrait the second session of the CPPCC National Committee.

After his death a posthumous exhibition held at the Art Museum of China in Lhasa.

Several publication also followed his departured, such as “The Long March route sketch collection“, “Dong Xiwen painting series, Dong Xiwen Paintings and so on.

While few decades before the previous art movements were related to the Chinese classical fine arts tradition, we can consider also his studies quite innovatory for the technique and the tools Dong utilized.  Two main studies are Speaking from Chinese painting Chinese painting style of expression“,sketch ink and color painting basic exercises for teaching relationship.

Persecuted during the Cultural Revolution for the movements against intellectuals, he died in 1973 at the age of 58.
During his trps in 1955 May-November he followed the shooting of a movie on the Long March schetching and painting more 250 pieces including the famous Heishui.


After the cultural revolution the figure of Dong Xiwen has been rehabilitated, even if not the main artist of the first half of the 20th century, has a very interesting role for potraing the image of the Tibetan traditional costumes.

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