In 1926, Ni Jiang Huai, Chen Cheng Po and 7 Taiwanese artists organized and founded the first artist group in Taiwan- The Seven Star Artist Group. The group later expanded into a 14 man group known as Red Island Association (Chidao She) and played a key role in the rise of Taiwanese art. The focus of this site will be on Chen Cheng Po and Chen Chih-Chi.

He had taught many times in Taiwan as an Art teacher at Taipei Normal School and was seen as the torchbearer of Taiwan modern western art. He was also a pioneer of school of arts education in Taiwan and gave Taiwanese students access to Western Art education.

In the early years he initiated the Arts and Literature Monthly Meeting, Banchakai (0931 – 1916), and later years he actively promoted watercolor inside and outside of school. He published a large number of painting and articles in “Taiwan Daily News,” “Taiwan Times,” and “Taiwan Education,” such as “New Method of Watercolor,” “Supplementary Painting,” and “San Tzu Shui Ming,” and instructed the Seven Star Artist Group, Taiwan Watercolor Association, Chi-Lung Asia Painting Association and various school arts workshops and amateur art groups as well as greatly encouraged other followers. He was an attractive force during the 1920s painting era with students such as Li Shih-Chiao, Ni Jiang Huai, Lan Yin-Ting and Li Tze-Fan.

Ishikawa ‘s greatest influence on Taiwanese history was advocating a fine arts exhibition run by the Taiwan Governor-General Office and also participated in the creation of the Taiwan Arts Exhibition and served as supervisor in order for Taiwanese citizens to be able to compete fairly with the Japanese in an Arts competition. At the same time, Taiwan followed the tradition of official arts competition and this tradition continued for over 80 years, central government to county government all see official exhibitions as an important work of government cultural arts and symbol of modernization and continues to flourish.

Ishikawa’s Taiwanese pupils include those such as Ni Jiang Huai, Chen Cheng Po, Li Mei-Shu, Chen Chih-Chi, Li Shih-Chiao, Li Tze-Fan, Cheng Shih-Fan, Yeh Huo-Cheng, Wu Tung-Tsai, Lan Yin-Ding, Hung Jui-Lin, Chang Wan-Chuan, and Chen Teh-Wang. Ni Jiang-Huai had the closest relationship with him.

Ishikawa was a typical gifted scholar due to his various talents. Thus, besides painting, he was also well versed in foreign languages, literature, folk songs and poetry. Ishikawa also had the manners of a poet. In 1908, he praised Taipei sceneries and even deemed it as “Japan’s Greatest” scenery. He even declared that if Japanese people came to Taiwan, they would feel the same way. His many watercolor paintings was used to portray Taiwan beauty to the Japanese people and stated that those who do not understand this beauty was “unfortunate.”

Documents also stated: He felt that Taipei’s natural scenery at the time was like Kyoto, Tamsui River was comparable to Kamogawa, Tatun, Kuan Yin Mountain was comparable to Eizan and Atagoyama, Yuan-Shan, Chi-Lung River were no less beautiful than Yoshida Mountain and Shirakawa, He-Shang District (Luzhou District) was comparable to Sagano, Guting Village was the equivalent of Fushimi, these Kyoto sites being compared are all famous historical sites.

Then he said:
The sceneries from both places may look similar, but the colors of Taipei look even more beautiful. The effect of red roofs and yellow walls matched with green bamboos are extremely strong, the green colors of Acacia trees portray a dense and solemn atmosphere on the Japanese Mainland, and it is even more wonderful placed under the azure sky. (Ishikawa Kinichiro 1935.6)

Before the birth of “Taiwan Fine Arts Exhibition,” the group solely invested by Ni Jiang-Huai was: “Seven Star Artist Group” assembled by “Ishikawa and his students” in the North. Later, they paired up with the South “Red Sun Association” and reorganized it to “Red Island Association,” which later gave birth to Tai-yang Art Exhibition in 1934, of which is still operating today.

Document study:

“Seven Stars” should be a purely Taiwanese Art Society, it was formed by seven members of Lan Yin-Ding, Ni Jiang-Huai, Chen Cheng-Po, Chen Ying-Sheng, Chen Cheng-Pan, and Chen Yin, and thus was named “Seven Stars,” and also corresponded with Seven Stars Mountain in the Taipei outskirts. In the second round exhibition, Ishikawa stated from his own experience: “All the artists from the island participating in this activity has planted a valuable seed for the spread of joy and improvement of morals that will benefit the future immensely.(Chen Cheng-Po 1935.1)

Ishikawa’s influence on the first generation of artists were deep, when he returned to his country, his students missed the “good times” greatly, and therefore started a petition of a thousand people to have the Governor-General Education Department to invite him back to serve as the supervisor for “Taiwan Fine Arts Exhibition.” (Ni Jiang-Huai 1936.11)

“Taiwan Watercolor Society” members include Japanese and Taiwanese painters with half from each side, and different from the mainly Taiwanese members of Tai-Yang Art Exhibition, this exhibition includes entries from Tokyo members. The third exhibition had entries from National Taiwan Normal University and Taipei high school students, and British watercolor entries. Members had increased to more than sixty and majority of the occupation of Taiwanese artists were secondary and primary teachers, and professional artists make up five or six people. (Reporter 1926.6.7 “Han4”) In view of the increasing popularity of watercolor painting, there were not enough schools for those students in search of an education, and thus led to the established “Western Art Research Institute” funded by Ni Jiang-Huai, located across from Penglaige, managed by Ishikawa Kinichiro, and later renamed “Taiwan Painting Institute.”

Red Island Association was “a powerful group among the people, thus, the government and its people carried on the responsibility of promoting the advance-ment and spread of Taiwanese Art. (Chen Cheng Po 1935.1)

Kinichiro Ishikawa

“The Yen family” painted by Kinichiro Ishikawa.

Kinichiro Ishikawa’s watercolor paintings

Photo of Kinichiro Ishikawa and his pupils in Taiwan.

Red Island Association Exhibition Hall

Photo of Kinichiro Ishikawa, Chen Chih-Chi and Hung Jui-Lin.

“London” painted by Kinichiro Ishikawa.

Photo of Ni Jiang-Huai, Lan Yin-Ding and Kinichiro Ishikawa.

“Governor-General of Taiwan” painted by Kinichiro Ishikawa.

“Formosa” painted by Kinichiro Ishikawa.