Friday, August 23, 2013

Kwei Teng in China

China Institute Bulletin
January 1931
Member of the Soochow Fine Arts Society, Soochow; former art instructor and lecturer at the University of Washington, Seattle; fellow of the Harvard-Yenching Institute of of the Royal Society of Arts, London. Subjects: —

Introduction to Chinese Painting
A Comparison of the Arts of the East and the West
The Philosophy of Life and Art of the Chinese Painters
The Technique of Chinese Painting, and other technical subjects (upon request)

China at War
Volume 1, Issue 3, 1938
Harvard Man Runs Refugee Factory
Harvard-trained Chinese sculptor Teng Kwei whose works are permanently exhibited in various American museums has turned factory-manager out of patriotism to his country. He is now in Hankow supervising the work of hundreds of refugees who are making socks, fans, straw sandals, and towels for Chinese soldiers at the front.

Mr. Teng, who some time ago taught art in Yenching University, an American institution in Peiping, envisages in his present work an interesting experiment, which if successfully carried out, will go a long way toward rehabilitating China’s thousands of hapless war refugees.

The project of which Mr. Teng is now in charge and upon which he is expending his entire efforts, comes under the New Life Movement Association of which Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek is the chairman.

The refugee-workers, mainly women and girls in their teens, work in two improvised factories which were once schools. They receive from twenty to thirty cents a day, which, while insignificant in amount, represent their net earnings, as their lodging places and meals are provided for by local charity organs.

According to Mr. Teng’s plan, the experiment will be shortly extended to other cities. In addition to the four articles now being produced, the refugees will be instructed to make under-shirts, gauze and absorbent cotton, all for consumption by the Chinese troops.

Magazine of Art
October 1951
Reminiscence and Reverie by Mark Tobey
...I have just had my first lesson in Chinese brush from my friend and artist Teng Kwei. The tree is no more solid in the earth, breaking into lesser solids in the earth, breaking into lesser solids bathed in chiaroscuro. There is pressure and release. Each movement, like tracks in the snow, is recorded and often loved for itself. The Great Dragon is breathing sky, thunder and shadow; wisdom and spirit vitalized.

Chinese Art and Its Encounter With the World
David Clark
Hong Kong University Press, 2011
When American painter Mark Tobey (1890–1976) discussed his artistic development, he emphasized the importance of his study of Chinese brushwork, undertaken in Seattle with a Chinese friend, in liberating him from bondage to the Renaissance heritage and in permitting him to discover the dynamic linearity that became the hallmark of his style. Referred to variously in English as ‘T’eng Kwei’, ‘Teng Kuei’, ‘Teng-Kroei’, ‘Teng Quay’, or even ‘Kwei Dun’, the artist in question was Teng Gui, known to many in China by his pen name Teng Baiye. This chapter attempts to throw more light on that former Seattle resident, tracing his career following his return to China. By putting together information on Teng from Western and Chinese sources, it is possible to suggest that this artist has a greater historical importance—as both a cultural interpreter and as an artistic practitioner—than he has so far been accorded in either China or America.

(Next post August 30: Chung Wun, Portrait Painter)

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