C.J. Yao

“The native is not restrictred to the Chinese tradition alone, nor is the modern the monopoly of the Western world. To be a contemporary overseas Chinese painter, one has to keep abreast of the times, know one’s standpoint, and lay a track for one’s creativity. Only then can he roll on, without ever stopping, to unravel his outlook and his style.”


C.J. Yao was amongst the most preeminent Taiwanese painters of the 1970s. In his early career, the artist was active in Taiwanese art circles as an abstract Surrealist painter. Upon emigrating to New York in 1970,  Yao became greatly influenced by hyperrealist painters such as Richard Estes. Today, he is best known for hyperrealist depictions of urban reflection scenes. Throughout his life, Yao exhibited over 100 shows in over a dozen countries during his life, including the 1970 Sao Paulo Biennale. He was the first overseas artist to become a permanent professor in Mainland China.


1941 Born in Taichung, Taiwan.
1964 Graduated from Arts department at Nation Taiwan Normal University.
1969 Received the Honor award at The Fifth International Youth Art Exhibition in Tokyo.
1970 Presented works at The Tenth Saint Paul International Art Exhibition in Brazil; Moved to the US later that year.
1974~1983 Became an important painter representing realism in the US.
1983 Gave lectures on Western Modern Art Thinkings in Mainland China at the invitation of United Nations.
1985 Became a visiting professor at Central Creative Crafts College in Beijing and the first overseas permanent visiting professor in the art world of Mainland China.
1962~1993 Participated in over 100 individual exhibitions.  Exhibitions took place in local and foreign national art hall literature centers, art galleries, etc. in the US, Japan, Spain, Germany, Canada, Belgium, Peking, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and more.
1993 Invited by the Graduate Art Department at the National Taiwan Normal University to give a speech.
1994 Received the Overseas Painter Contribution Award from the Taiwan ROC Paint Gallery Variety Exhibition.
1995 Invited by Zonta International Taiwan Club to return to Taiwan and hold a painting exhibition and ceramic art show at the Literature Center of China Daily News, Tainan; Yao also contributed his charity sales to benefit handicapped people.
1996 Invited by Koahsiung Teacher’s University to give a speech.
1996 Koahsiung City Heaven Accumulation-50 Art Space Exhibition.
1997 Participated in the 14th National Art Exhibition R.O.C.
1998 Participated in invited exhibitions at the Ping Tung Hsen Cultural Center, the Miaoli Hsien Cultural Center, and the Guam University in the US; also attended the Art Gallery Exhibition ROC and held an art show at Tungchin Art Gallery, Taiwan Cultural Center.
1999 Participated in the 15th National Art Exhibition ROC and invited exhibitions at Hsin Chu Hsien Cultural Center.
2000 Art show at the Lungmen Art Gallery, Taiwan.