World Traveler

Chinese native Duan returns after winning Best of Show

His large landscape paintings are colorful and striking

(September 2016) – There is no doubt that Zhen-Zhong Duan is a world-traveler. It radiates from his paintings. A master at watercolor and oil landscapes, Duan will bring his colorful artwork to the Madison Chautauqua Festival of Art for a third time this year. He won Best of Show there last year, having won First place in Fine Art back in 2007.
Born in Anhui, China, in 1944, Duan graduated from the Central Academy of Arts and Design in 1969 with a degree in Decorative Arts and Architecture. For four years he worked as an art designer for the Song and Dance Ensemble Central Troup.
His next job landed him at the Beijing Film Studio, where, in 1990, he became the Senior Arts Designer. It is the largest film studio in Asia, located in the cultural area of the western suburbs of Beijing.

Photo by Emily Ward

Artist Zhen-Zhong Duan also won First Place in Fine Art in 2007 during the first year he participated.

Duan was able to hone his artistic skills while working there as the Beijing Film Studio is outfitted with state-of-the-art facilities and boasts four large-scale studios, one special effects studio, two dialogue recording studios, one music studio and mixing-re-recording studios. Beijing Film Studios produces about 30 feature films and 100 television films a year.
His detailed set designs have appeared in more than 20 major film and television productions. Duan has received many special honors and awards for his contributions to the Chinese Moving Picture Industry, such as the “Golden Rooster” award. Equivalent to the American Academy Award, he received this award in 1989 for his set design for the movie “Waiting for Daybreak.”
Duan collaborated artistically with Ann Hu, a world-recognized director, on the internationally acclaimed film, “Dream and Memory.” This film was set during China’s Cultural Revolution and was filmed in China and New York.
At age 71, he remains an active member of many different organizations. He is a member of the Chinese Association of Movie Artists and the Chinese Academy of Movie Artists. Duan is also a member of the Oriental Art Association, where he was Director of the Research Division for Qi Baishi-Art.
Although Duan has held many job titles in his long artistic career, he may best be known in this area as an accomplished watercolor and oil landscape painter. His large cityscapes of the many places he has visited – Pairs, China, Italy - will be on display in Booth 921 at this year’s Madison Chautauqua.
Always having been interested in art, Duan said he primarily creates his artwork “in oil on canvas and ink on rice paper.” He drives inspiration from the “vivid color found within nature.”
This Chinese artist was last year’s Best of Show winner at the 45th Madison Chautauqua. His works depict the Great Wall of China, Tibetan mountain people, and European streetscapes. Duan described his work as “looking like a poem or music.”
Duan’s artwork has been exhibited internationally in Beijing, Hong Kong, Europe and the United States. His oil paintings have been displayed and sold by Sothebys, one of the world’s largest brokers of fine and decorative art, jewelry, real estate and collectibles located in New York City.
A resident of Dublin, Ohio, Duan said he has been an Artist Member of the Brown County Art Guild in Nashville, Ind., since 2007.
“There is a lot of contrast in his work, and he works in black ink and pastels,” said Jenny Straub, co-coordinator of the Madison Chautauqua. Attendees like his work because “it is so original.”

Straub first saw Duan’s work at the Rising Sun (Ind.) Art Show several years ago and suggested to then-Chautauqua coordinator Georgie Kelly that he be juried into the Madison Chautauqua show.

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