France Awards Zhang Huan the Chevalier de la Légion d’Honneur

Zhang Huan, Family Tree (2000). Photo: courtesy Pace Gallery, New York.
Zhang Huan, Family Tree (2000). Photo: courtesy Pace Gallery, New York.

Chinese artist Zhang Huan has been awarded the Chevalier de la Légion d’Honneur by the French government. The honor recognizes Zhang’s efforts to promote cultural exchange between France and China, and his general contributions to the field of visual art.

Translated as “Legion of Honour,” the Chevalier de la Légion d’Honneur dates back to 1802, when Napoleon created it to replace the country’s traditional knighthood orders. The award is the highest medal of honor in France.

Zhang’s art brings together the oriental and occidental, the past and present, in exploration of the humanities and innovation. The artist has had solo exhibitions in Paris, London, New York, and Florence, and his work is held in several collections, including Paris’s Centre National d’art et de Culture Georges Pompidou.

In addition to making art, Zhang has opened over 30 “Zhang Huan Hope Schools” in indigent areas of China. According to a press release from the artist’s studio, Zhang will serve as stage director for a production George Frederick Handel’s 1743 opera Semele (a project which he has previously presented in a number of other countries) next spring at the Brooklyn Academy of Music.

The French Consul General in Shanghai will hold an award ceremony for Zhang on May 20.

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