Zheng Jin and Modern Chinese Art Education

  • Dates:2019-01-09 - 2019-03-03
  • Location:Gallery 4F, CAFA Art Museum
  • Opening:2019-01-09 14:00
  • Organizer(s): Central Academy of Fine Arts
  • Co-Organizer(s): Department of Publicity and Culture of the Liaison Office of the Central People's Government in the Macao S.A.R.
  • Organizers: Propaganda Department of the Party Committee of the Central Academy of Fine Arts


The one-year series of activities to celebrate the centenary of CAFA draw to its close. The university organized “Two Salutes” as the representative academic events to honor its century-old traditions. It paid tribute to Mr. Xu Beihong, the first Director of the CAFA after the founding of the People... More
The one-year series of activities to celebrate the centenary of CAFA draw to its close. The university organized “Two Salutes” as the representative academic events to honor its century-old traditions. It paid tribute to Mr. Xu Beihong, the first Director of the CAFA after the founding of the People’s Republic of China, by holding the grand exhibition “Xu Beihong: Living Art Forever” and initiated the series of activities celebrating the centenary of CAFA. Also, in honor of Zheng Jin, the first Director of the National School of Fine Arts (the predecessor of CAFA), it planned the academic research exhibition “Zheng Jin and Modern Chinese Art Education” as the last exhibition for the centennial anniversary. The exhibition of “Zheng Jin and Modern Chinese Art Education” will be unveiled on January 9, 2019, which is hosted by CAFA, supported by the Liaison Office of the Central People’s Government in The Macao Special Administrative Region Department of Publicity and Culture, and organized by Publicity Department of CAFA and CAFA Art Museum.
Zheng Jin (1883-1959), a famous artist and art educator, alias Rui Jin, and named himself Jiongchang, or Gengchang, was born in Xiangshan, Guangdong. He stayed and studied in Japan when he was a teenager, and later specialized in painting. His works are pure, with elegant colors, partial Japanese style and partial paintings of the Song Dynasty. He returned to China to work in the Ministry of Education and taught graphic pattern part-time in Beijing Higher Normal School. In 1917, he was appointed as Director of Beijing Art School, the first national art school in China, and resigned in 1924. During his tenure, he had continuously developed and improved the art education system in modern and contemporary China. From 1927 to 1937, he launched the education movement of folk art in Ding county, Hebei province, integrating civilian education and elite education for his lifetime. Since 1940, he had lived in Macao and focused on creation. His representative works include “Grace”, “Waiting for Dawn”, “Magnolia and Peacock”, “Fox”, “Eagles Fighting”, “Spring Returning to the Earth”, and he also finished the works and articles, such as Civilian Education and Civilian Art and “The Advocacy of Civilian Education Movement”.



Related essays

Who Was Zheng Jin? ...


Zheng Jin, a famous artist and art educator, was appointed as the first Principal of the Beijing Art School in 1918 and an important pioneer of modern Chinese art education.

Art Chronology of Zheng Jin


1883         On the 21st day of the first lunar month, he was born in Sanxiang Yongmo village, Xiangshan, Guangdong (now Zhongshan). His father was Yu Chigong who good at painting.

1888         He studied at a village school.

1897         He followed his sister to move from Xiangshan to Yokohama, Japan and entered Datong School. He went after Liang Qichao, Lin Huiru, Zhong Zuojing and Zhang Yutao and had traveled for three years.

1901         He graduated from middle school.

1902         He went to Tokyo to study Western painting.

1907         He enrolled at the Kyoto City University of Arts to learn painting skills.

1910         On the 14th day of the second lunar month, he married Bao Guie in Yokohama, Japan.

1911         He graduated from Kyoto City University of Arts, specializing in Japanese Painting. Then he went to study at Kyoto City Art School and learned landscape painting with Yamamoto Shunkyo. He lived with Chen Shuren and Bao Shaoyou in Kyoto.

1913        His work “Grace” was selected in the 7th Art Exhibition of Japanese Ministry of Education. He first met Gao Jianfu and Gao Qifeng.

1914       His work “Waiting for Dawn” was displayed at the Tokyo Taisho Exhibition. He graduated from Kyoto City Art School. His graduation work “Parrot” (also known as “Leisure”) was purchased and collected by the school. After returning to China, he lived in Gongmenkou, Xizhimen in Beijing.


Zheng Jin, Self-portrait, about 1915, Oil painting


Zheng Jin and his family in Gongmenkou

1915        He went to Tianjin to visit Liang Qichao, and Liang Qichao wrote an article “Introduction of Works by Zheng Jin” for Zheng Jin. He brought the article to visit Zhang Yilin. He taught graphic design in Beijing Higher Normal School.

1917        He organized and established an art school under the order of the Ministry of Education and started to recruit students in 1918. He was appointed as Director of Beijing Art School by the Ministry of Education.


The main entrance of the auditorium of the Beijing Art School

1918       On April 15, the opening ceremony of the Beijing Art School was held in the Qianjingjidao, Xicheng, and then Chief Education Minister Fu Zengxiang, Vice-minister Yuan Xitao, Cai Yuan Pei, President of Peking University, and headmasters of other national institutions of higher education in Beijing as well as many guests attended the ceremony. At the same year, the Ministry of Education approved the establishment of the higher education department and higher normal department in Beijing Art School.

1919        He served as the tutor of the “Painting Research Association” of Peking University and taught watercolor.

1920        With Chen Shizeng, Xiao Junxian, Wang Mengbai, Yao Hua, Wu Ling and other teachers of Western painting, he organized “Huayin Art Association” and created “Magnolia and Peacock”.


A group photo of “Chinese Art Association”, including Chen Shizeng (the second from left), Zheng Jin (the first from right), etc.

1922         The Ministry of Education appointed Zheng Jin as the Principal of Beijing Art School and issued the school seal. On November 10, the school held a special school celebration, in which then Chief Education Minister Tang Erhe, Vice-minister Cai Yuanpei, and principals of other seven national institutions as well as many guests were present.

1923         He cooperated with Gao Shuda, and painted illustrations for a set of four copies of “Thousand Characters for a Civilian Class” of the “China Civilian Education Promotion Association”.

1924         He resigned as Principal of Beijing Art School.

1927        With an invitation from Yan Yangchu, Zheng Jin was employed by “China Civilian Education Promotion Association” to host the “Intuitive Audiovisual Education Department”. He moved to the countryside, Ding county, Hebei province to promote the civilian education movement. The Ministry of Education of Beiyang government changed the name of “Beijing Art School” into “National Art School”.


Zheng Jin’s residence outside Ding county, Hebei province


A corner of Zheng Jin’s house in Ding county, Hebei province

1928          His work Civilian Education and Civilian Art was published by Shanghai Commercial Press.

1936          He was invited by Sun Zhesheng, Wu Tiecheng, Yang Ziyi from the Guangdong Provincial Government, to return to his hometown in Zhongshan county, and became the president for the “Rural Construction Committee of Zhongshan County”.

1937          The Anti-Japanese War broke out, and he arranged his family to return to his hometown from Beijing. He created “Eagles Fighting”.

1940          He took refuge in Bao Shaoyou’s home in Baishi village, Zhongshan county. After the fall of Zhongshan, he moved to Macao and lived at Gaoshide road. He created “Hoofbeat in the Forest” and “Strong Wind in the Green”.


Zheng Jin in Hong Kong, 1941


Zheng Jin and Zhao Shaoang, 1941


A group photo of Zheng Jin, Bao Shaoyou and others, 1941

1941         “Zheng Jiongchang’s Painting Exhibition” was held in No.32, Avenida do Ouvidor Arriaga, in Macao. “Zheng Jiongchang’s Charity Exhibition” was opened at Macao Chamber of Commerce. He created “Washing” and “Picking Chrysanthemums under the Eastern Fence”.

1943          In Winter, he began to collect pictures of horses for the creation of “Spring Returning to the Earth”.

1944           He moved to Zheng Huixi House, near Puji Temple to paint, and because the picture was too large, he returned to Ren Xinan’s place in Erlonghou to frame “Spring Returning to the Earth”.

1945        “Zheng Jiongchang Exhibition” was held at Macao Rio Hotel. He created “Peach-blossom Face”, “Bouncy Deers in Spring”, “The Old Tree Greeting the Spring”, “Swan on Autumn Water”, “Spring in the Southern Area”. He moved to Qingzhou.

1946          After the victory of the Anti-Japanese War, he returned to Zhongshan and served as head of Sanzhou township and principal of Central National School.

1948          He resigned as head of the township and painted at home.

1949          He resigned as principal of Central National School. 

1952          He was issued with a Macao identity card and signed as Zheng Yunquan.

1955          He created “Beautiful Peacocks in the Pine Forest”.

1956          He participated in “Macao Art Research Association”.

1957          He painted “White Chicken in Spring Garden”, “Comb of Meleagrididae”, etc.

1958          He made “Contending in Beauty”, “Two Cranes in the Morning”, “Stop Playing Music in the Pavilion”, “Two Standing Kings”, “Beautiful Peacocks in Autumn Garden”, “Swimming Fishes and Singing Birds”, “Picking Lychee”, etc.


Exhibition site of Zheng Jin’ final works after his death. From left to right: Luo Xiandu, Luo Deji, Madame Bao, Zheng Meicheng, Huo Baocai, Bao Shaoyou, Fang Shouhong, Miss Bao, Miss Bao, Bao Huixian.

1959            On March 28, he died in Macao Jinghu Hospital. On June 15, an exhibition of Zheng Jiongchang’s works was held at St. John Church in Hong Kong.

1997          His third daughter Zheng Meicheng donated his father’s collection of famous paintings and calligraphy, a total of 13 pieces, to the Taipei Palace Museum.

2001              The Department of Culture and Sports of Macao Provisional Municipal Council organized “A Memory Exhibition of Zheng Jiongchang” in Macao.

Excerpt from: Chen Jichun, Zheng Jin Art Research

Quick loginAccount login
  • Mobile phone number will be your login ID
Use Artron membership to login