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He Kongde
He Kongde  (1925 — 2003)
He Kongde was born in Xicheng County, Sichuan province in 1925. An early interest in art prompted him to study traditional brush painting in primary school. In 1943, he entered the Fine Arts Department of the State Chongqing Normal University, and in 1945, he transferred to the Sichuan Provincial Art School in Chengdu to learn Western gouache techniques from instructors who had studied in France. After graduation in 1947, He Kongde joined the Chinese People's Volunteer Army and fought in the Korean War. In 1955, he went to Beijing and was accepted in the Central Academy of Fine Arts where he studied under Russian instructors. In 1957, He Kongde took the position of professional painter for the China Military Museum in Beijing and for over forty years he concentrated on themes depicting Chinese modern history. He Kongde was a Standing Council Member of the Chinese Artists' Association and was Deputy Director of the Oil Painting Commission.


  • Coming Out to Attack, 1964
    Oil on Canvas
    74" x 59" (188cm x 150cm)

    About this work

    He Kongde went away to the Korean War and states that when he returned he was interested in painting subjects that dealt with that experience. When he painted "Coming Out to Attack" he was remembering being in a mountain shelter while the Americans were bombing them. He says he could remember this scene exactly, and the soldiers in it, but somehow he saw himself as the soldier in the front so the work became a self-portrait. Having studied under Russian instructors in the Chinese art academies, He Kongde says he always admired the work of the Russian painter Nicolai Fechin and believes it has influenced his style. The Hefner Collection acquired the original "Coming Out To Attack" in 1987. He Kongde later produced a second version he donated to the National Museum of China, Beijing.   

  • Still Life, 1990
    Oil on Canvas
    18" x 26" (46cm x 66cm)

    About this work

    For over forty years of his professional career, He Kongde concentrated on themes depicting Chinese modern history. When he retired, however, he said that he preferred to stay in his home and paint roses that he grew. "Still Life, 1990" is a beautiful example.   

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