July 22, 2015

Investment Review & Recommendation

(Note: Lawrence Jeppson has been a renowned international art consultant, historian, curator, writer, editor, publisher, lecturer, and appraiser for nearly half a century. He is America’s leading authority on modern French tapestries, as well as expert on several painters, including Dr. T.F. Chen, about whom he has written several books. Through the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service, the American Federation of Arts, NY’s Museum of Modern Art, and his own Art Circuit Services; Jeppson has been a contributor to more than 200 art exhibitions around the world. He is co-founder and director of the Collectors’ Investment Fund and owns AcroEditions.)

Encountering Dr. Tsing-Fang Chen

By Lawrence Jeppson
Dr. Chen’s first exhibition in the U.S. at the Art Alliance in Philadelphia, 1978. Mr. Lawrence Jeppson (far left) coined the term “Neo-Iconography” for Chen’s artistic style and wrote extensively on it. Dr. Chen’s first exhibition in the U.S. at the Art Alliance in Philadelphia, 1978. Mr. Lawrence Jeppson (far left) coined the term “Neo-Iconography” for Chen’s artistic style and wrote extensively on it. As an international art critic, consultant, and market appraiser, I have placed my reputation and advocacy fully behind Dr. T.F. Chen for more than thirty years.I first met Dr. T.F. Chen in 1973 at an exciting turning point in both our lives. Chen had just spent a dozen years in Paris where he had obtained a Ph.D. in Art History from the Sorbonne and had just created a new art style that reconciled the many and often contradicting paths of Oriental and Western art. I was an organizer of traveling art exhibitions, friend of many French and American artists, writer, lecturer, and scholar/curator/expert on certain artists and forms of art. Chen was just beginning this momentous, creative melding of those technical and philosophical differences between Western and Eastern art. He was doing this by carefully taking images from these disparate cultures and marrying them with paint on canvas. The images were quotes, but the way he reconstructed and juxtaposed them and the way he manipulated brush and pigment were all his own. I imme-diately recognized his great talent, bursting on so many levels. Chen came onto the New York scene shortly after Pop Art had blossomed and taken root as one of the new American gallery dramas.
  The classification of Chen as Pop falls farthest from the tree when comparison is made to Andy Warhol (whose work has sold for about $40 million, prints sold for $1.7 million) or Jasper Johns (whose work has sold for $80 million). For all his posturing with Marilyn Monroe and Campbell's soup cans, Warhol was a thin, self-promoted talent. If Chen is considered along with Pop-list Robert Rauschenberg (whose work has sold for $40 million), then there is some justification, since both use complex manipulation of many images. However, instead of calling Chen a Pop artist, I prefer to call Chen a Neo-Iconographer, a style unto himself. I began writing my first book about the artist, The Neo-Iconography of Tsing-fang Chen, to elucidate Chen's concept of a Global New Renaissance in Love drawing together Eastern and Western art into a shared common visual language. An oft-cited quote: "In Chen's hands this recycling of images is not an imitation or a theft but a stroke of cunning." Chen is an illustrious painter who thinks and a profound thinker who paints. His visionary brush opens canals between huge and forbidding cultural oceans and digs deep into the telltales of time. Dr. Chen was born in Taiwan in 1936, when the island was part of the Japanese empire, and Taiwan was a cultural desert. Chen recalls,

I remember as a young boy memorizing every worn page of the 50 art books that a local dentist had smuggled in from Japan. At 14 years old, upon seeing the art of Vincent van Gogh for the first time, I wept and set my will upon going to Paris and becoming an artist. I consumed everything relating to fine art, literature, or music in that impoverished time and fed my soul with their beauty…Immersing myself in even the little bit of art that was available at that time made me into a passionate, intelligent, creative man with a great love and keen sensibility towards our humanity.

Dr. Chen graduated in 1950 from the National Taiwan University, where he was president of the Association of Fine Arts. Realizing his dreams, he went to Paris in 1963 on a coveted fellowship from the French government. He spent the next 12 years studying, painting, and exhibiting in France. He obtained a Master's degree in French Contemporary Literature and a Doctorate, summa cum laude, in Art History from the Sorbonne. During this deeply intellectual period, he simultaneously studied at L’École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-arts for 7 years. In 1975, Chen and his wife Lucia moved from Paris to NYC and became US citizens. In1983, they moved to the SoHo art district of New York City. Chen says,

With a mixture of Asian, European, and American influences, I grew up very conscious of being a 'World Citizen.' This kind of conscious awakening in the individual paves a way for a Global Culture based on Love, Peace, and Tolerance for all.

Dr. Chen has a vision of world civilization arriving at a harmony of peace and understanding, but he also sees a world beset with problems that first must be overcome. He seeks to harmonize Western logic and science with Eastern intuition and simplicity. In doing so, his images emerge as a rapturous, turbulent integration of the visuals of Formosan folklore, Chinese culture, Oriental art, and at least five centuries of unrolling, often conflicting Western traditions. Dr. Chen has created such a large, varied, and powerful body of art that he can stand alone as one of the most significant painters in the world today, which he is. He has created several thematic series of paintings, such as “The Spirit of Liberty” in 1986, a 100-painting commemoration of the centennial of the Statue of Liberty; then in 1991, Chen's “Post – Van Gogh Series,” another 100-painting series, whose exhibition in Holland brought Chen enthusiastic raves. The ex-Minister of Culture in Holland, who is a notable Van Gogh expert and former director of the Van Gogh Museum in Holland, called Chen "the reborn Van Gogh." Chen's homeland Taiwan has also recognized him as a national treasure and arranged for his artwork to tour noted Taiwanese museums and cultural centers from 1984-2003. In 1990, the Taiwan Museum of Art acknowledged Chen's growing importance on the international art scene by giving him a monumental show: "The Art of Dr. T.F. Chen: Neo-Iconography" and collecting his art work. Chen established a unique cultural view, "Five-Dimensional World Culture" -- an "Art for Humanity's Sake" -- to recognize and encourage our new global village, concepts which can best be realized artistically through the encompassing arms of Neo-Iconography. This style inspired him to paint many series of paintings, not only “The Spirit of Liberty” and “Post - Van Gogh,” but also “East-West,” “Venus,” “Card players,” “Napoleon,” “Princess Diana,” “Jade Mountain,” “9/11,” and “Las Vegas.” In 1996, Chen and his wife Lucia opened the non-profit T.F. Chen Cultural Center in SoHo, NYC to promote a "Global New Renaissance in Love in Love" and East-West cultural exchange. At this time Chen completed one of the most monumental outpourings in post-modern art, Towards the 21st Century, Symphony in World Culture, on seven huge panels of acrylic on canvas with a total measurement of 9'2" high by 46'8" long -- a powerful amalgamation of dozens of cultural and historical icons that marked our century. Chen is also frequently invited to speak and exhibit at many international conferences, such as the prestigious State of the World Forum in 1998 and 2000. In 2001, the Friends of the United Nations honored Chen as the first artist-painter to receive the Global Tolerance Award, and designated him a Cultural Ambassador for Tolerance and Peace. Subsequently, the Chens established the T.F. Chen Art for Humanity Foundation to advance art education and a global culture of peace, as well as launch a five-year "Arts for Humanity World Tour" of Chen's most powerful artworks, accompanied with cultural events and educational programs focusing on peace, tolerance, and cultural harmony. Chen has been the recipient of more than 200 one-man exhibitions, has published more than 22 books in English, Chinese, and French. Chen’s art has been featured more than 300 textbooks, magazines with other master artists, such as the university art history textbook, Arts & Ideas. Some critics consider him among the 20 most influential artists in the world today. Others place him in the top ten. This is not too much praise.
July 22, 2015

Essential Background

Dr. Tsing-fang Chen is a painter of extraordinary talent and world-class importance. With his visionary brush, Chen takes familiar symbols and subjects from various periods of Western and Oriental art -- as well as from current events -- and juxtaposes them in shattering visual images. In short, he is an illustrious painter who thinks and a profound thinker who paints. Chen’s brilliance and erudition have no match in the world of art today, and although he has been an American citizen since 1983, his intellectual depth and artistic flowering transcend all national and cultural boundaries. Much famous contemporary art is superficial and fad-driven, with little thought or foundation. Chen is an astonishing and welcome contrast. After exhausting the resources of Taiwan, he spent twelve years in Paris, polishing his technical competence in the finest academies at the University of Paris and in the city’s great museums. He became the first Asian to earn a PhD in Art History from the Sorbonne.
July 22, 2015

The Art Market & Dr. Chen

Year after year intelligent investment in art has proved to be a sound investment. Art investment tends to be recession resistant and can outpace inflation. Sometimes profits are spectacular. A few years ago, Christie’s, NY held an auction of Impressionist and Modern art. In a three-hour frenzy $491.4 million, nearly half a billion dollars, worth of art changed hands. The star of the auction was a portrait by Gustav Klimt (1862-1918) which attracted four tenacious telephone bidders. After two dropped out, another entered the fray, and the final cost was $87.9 million, a record at public auction for the artist. A Gauguin fetched $40.3 million, a record for the artist, and other paintings also brought unexpected high prices. In another private sale, a different collector stunned the world by buying a 1952 Willem de Kooning (1904-1997) painting for roughly $137.5 million. The seller had recently parted with a Jackson Pollock (1912-1956) for $140 million and a Jasper Johns (1930- ) for $80 million. Note that Johns is a contemporary of Chen, which is suggestive. Chen has done a lot of work making multiple original, limited-edition prints using various processes. An Andy Warhol print recently sold for $17.4 million, an unbelievable sum. (In May, 1986 New York Magazine featured Warhol, Robert Rauschenberg, and Dr. T.F. Chen's painting, Sunday Morning Liberty, alongside each other in the same article.) Only Chen’s art price is yet to be in the range of that of his peers. To me, Chen is as great as they are, in fact in some respects, he is even more accomplished. Screen Shot 2015-04-14 at 4.53.17 PM ● 上圖:1986年陳錦芳在美國成名之「自由女神」系列﹐紐約雜誌將其作品與美國名畫家安迪•沃爾,羅森·柏格等美國國寶畫家同期刊出 Besides being an unparalleled fine artist, Chen is also an academic with a Doctorate from the Sorbonne, a humanitarian with a Global Tolerance Award from the Friends of the United Nations, and a prolific writer who has published 22 books on his art and cultural theories. For these reasons, I expect Chen’s prices to increase dramatically over the next few years, especially with the focus on Chen's ongoing Arts for Humanity World Tour. Within this art market there is an exceptional opportunity for a collector/investor who has the vision to take a major position in the acquisition of Chen's paintings.
July 22, 2015

Market Management

A creative artist is not a mass producer and can create only so many paintings in his lifetime. "Stocks may be split," says a New York dealer, "but there are only so many Cézannes." In the same vein, there will be only so many Chen’s paintings in his lifetime. For collectors there is the opportunity to realize substantial profit -– and to enjoy social status and business opportunities from being significant contributors to the world art scene and human culture. Closely associated with the artist, collectors too, will become an important part of art history. I have placed my reputation, advocacy, and assistance fully behind Dr. Chen. I recommend that you purchase his paintings now for three sound reasons.
  1. for esthetic pleasure
  2. for sound investment
  3. for better understanding of East-West culture
Esthetic pleasure is a very personal thing, and some of you may find a few of his paintings too strong for your tastes; and yet it is this very strength that makes the world art community pay attention. This strength, this power, will be the foundation of his reputation. As for investment, I believe there is a strong probability for future profit in any purchase of Chen’s paintings. As an artist becomes more widely recognized, his prices usually jump. Chen is already in his 70’s, with over a half-century of art creation and an established career. In this era when every nation is searching for the spiritual inspiration from all corners of the world, it’s the creation and promotion of fascinating and uplifting art that highlights the dedication of better cultural understanding between the West and the East. As an investor in Chen’s paintings, here are some of the steps I’d take:
  1. Form art professional teams to cooperate with the T.F. Chen Cultural Center to support the “Arts for Humanity World Tour.” While cooperating with other agencies, they would strive to make its images the most famous modern paintings in the world.
  2. Support more specific exhibitions of Chen’s series paintings, e.g. The Spirit of Liberty Collection, the Van Gogh Collection, etc. We would promote their worldwide showings in as many museums, cultural centers, galleries, and other venues as possible.
  1. Publish and merchandise limited-edition prints; publish the art in film, TV, etc.
  1. Work closely with international critics, curators, auction houses, museums, and media, and in all kinds of reciprocal promotions.
As an international exhibition curator, appraiser, art writer, and consultant in art investment for nearly half a century, I recognized Chen’s genius decades ago. My early judgment has been fully justified, and I have no hesitancy in continuing to place my reputation and advocacy behind him and his work.
  • T F Chen received many TV station interview during the show of “Dr. TF Chen’s Art & The Olympic ’s : Art for Humanity
  • TF Chen’s Art For Humanity World Tour China Show poster
  • After media interview TF, Lucia , Julie and media people took photo in front of Chen’s painting