Zhang Dannong 张丹农 (1903 – 1975)
Zhang Dannong was born in 1903, Guangdong, China and moved to Singapore in 1940. Prior to his relocation, Zhang trained in the Shanghai Academy of Fine Arts and was formerly a professor of Fine Arts in Sun Yat-Sen University, Guangzhou before he left in 1937 to focus on artmaking. A well-rounded artist proficient in Chinese ink painting, calligraphy and seal carving, Zhang is reputed for his paintings of horses and tigers and is noted to be one of China’s best painters of the latter.
Known for his excellent composition and use of opulent artmaking materials, Zhang had painted several tigers with pigments grounded from semi-precious stones and gold. While his paintings may come across as resplendent and elaborate with fine details, Zhang’s calligraphy style is bold and unconstraint, yet his seal carvings are often kept neat and simple. As one of Singapore’s pioneer artists, Zhang is also known as one of the first to popularise the art of seal carving in the region and is said to have produced more than 3,000 engraved seals in his lifetime.