Friday, June 28, 2013

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Watson Lim in Chicago

The Chinese in Chicago: The First One Hundred Years 1870-1970
Susan Lee Moy
University of Wisconsin, Madison, 1978

...The only museum in Chinatown is the Ling Long Museum located at 2238 S. Wentworth Avenue. The entire building was built in 1930 by the Moy Family Association of Chicago. The museum, however, does not belong to the organization but is leased to its proprietors. The concept of a Chinese museum was developed by several local residents in Chicago. This group of men commissioned Mr. Watson Lim, a famous, competent Chinese artist from Canton, to reproduce China's history in miniature diaramas [sic]. He did the work exclusively by hand in wood….

Thirty-ninth Annual Exhibition by Artists of Chicago and Vicinity
January 31 to March 10, Nineteen Hundred Thirty-five
The Art Institute of Chicago
(click images to enlarge)

Watson Lim
119: Street’s Art Seller

(Next post June 28: Larry Jay)

Friday, June 21, 2013

Chinese Artists Club

San Diego Union 
July 29, 1929 
Chinese Artists Have Creditable First Exhibition 
Bay City Hangings Show Versatile Work of Orientals in Modernistic Field. 

Four Chinese artists, Sam Wong, C.J. Lee, Howard Louie and Watson Lim, are represented in the first exhibition held by the Chinese Artists’ club this month in the Chinese high school building, on Stockton street, San Francisco.

Paintings, drawings and studies in various mediums are included in the showing of these young artists, all of whom have studied at the California School of Fine Arts.

Wong is represented by 30 canvases besides his drawings and other studies. He uses color in the modern manner, makes a bid for serious consideration with good drawing and freshly conceived design.

Watson Lim’s work shows a strong Oriental cast with little influence from his Occidental training.

Lee contributes a portrait of the commander-in-chief of the Chinese armies, Chiang Kai Shek, which occupies a place of honor, and Louie shows creditable landscapes of the Monterey coast.

(Next post June 22: Watson Lim in Chicago)

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Friday, June 14, 2013

Monroe Leung

Monroe Tom Leung was born in Los Angeles, California on April 19, 1915. According to the 1920 U.S. Federal Census, he was the seventh of eight children born to Tom and Wong. The family lived in Los Angeles at 1619 Pico Street. His father was a salesman of Chinese herbs. Their address was the same in the 1930 census. His father was a “herb doctor” who had his own office. Leung attended Los Angeles High School (left, 1934 yearbook photo). The family remained at the same address in the 1940 census.

In her book, Sweet Bamboo: Saga of a Chinese American Family (1990), Louise Leung Larson wrote:

Monroe wanted to go to art school, but there was no money
for that, so he did jobs. (Papa had recognized Monroe’s talent 
for art and one Christmas, when Monroe was about 14, bought 
him a drawing board, which he hid at the office. Monroe 
happened to see it, but didn’t let on.) Against the odds, he got a 
job as a beginning artist at Warner Brothers cartoon studio. 
Monroe had a wonderful sense of humor, demonstrated in the 
cartoons he drew. In later years, he occasionally sold cartoons
to magazines.

He was in a group photo here (scroll down to third photo). On September 19, 1942, Leung enlisted in the Army. According to the U.S. World War II Army Enlistment Records, 1938-1946, at, he had two years of college. In the “Civil Occupation” category, he was designated “Skilled painters, construction and maintenance”. His height was five feet three inches and weight was 116 pounds. Leung was a member of the Army Air Force First Motion Picture Unit. He was in a group photo here (scroll down to second photo). I Dream of Genealogy has this entry by Dianne Kiyomoto: 

Leung, Monroe T; 2nd Lieutenant; Army; Air Corps draftsman, 
1505th Army Air Force Base Unit, 1st Motion picture animation unit.

He served with artist Wayne Thiebaud. Charles Strong interviewed Thiebaud who recalled the motion picture unit’s project and what happened after the war.

CS: The one assignment that sounded rather ominous was 
where you were making maps for the Japanese invasion. 

WT: That was very late in my service….I went through an 
investigatory procedure to see if I could be assigned to a secret 
project. And the secret project turned out to be located in the 
old Hal Roche Studios, redesigned to make this elaborate, full 
scale map of Japanese islands. And the artists were pulled there 
to make these models from stereoscopic photographs to make 
these amazing reduplications of the Japanese islands, which 
were photographed as if the pilots were actually flying over them. 
Overhead cameras would move over them with fake clouds 
coming under them and everything so that the pilots could have 
dead reckoning for bombing. It was such an effective plan and 
project that it got a medal of commendation. But I got there on 
VJ Day, so I ended up playing basketball with Ronald Reagan 
who was one of the commanding officers, and I also worked 
throwing out films, and actually doing some films on evacuation 
instruction. Then I was discharged. 

CS: Fascinating. So what happened after the war?

WT: I went back to try to sell cartoons in New York and went 
with another cartoonist friend, Monroe Leung (we were in the 
service together), a wonderful fellow. After about a month he 
decided to come home, and I ended up trying to sell cartoons. 

One of Leung's cartoons was published in Chinatown and China City in Los Angeles (2011). Leung was a watercolorist, too. The Collected Best of Watercolor (2002) featured one of his works.

A PR Newswire 2005 press release, “ ‘Inspiring Lines’ Exhibition in Chinatown Honors Six Chinese-American Pioneers In the Commercial Arts”, announced Leung’s work in the exhibition.

Leung passed away November 17, 2004, in Monterey Park, California.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Chinatown Artists Club

American Art Annual
Volume 34
American Federation of Arts
MacMillan Company, 1937
Chinatown Artists Club
639 Kearney Street
Sam Wong Pres.
Cheechin S.C. Lee V.P.
David P. Chun Treas.
H. W. Key Sec.
Open to the public, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily; Saturday to 1 p.m.
Organized 1930, as Chinese Art Association, new organization and name changed 1937; to promote the interests of arts and bring the artists together into good fellowship. Annual meeting in November. Membership 25; dues, $1 for active members. Annual exhibition by jury selection, December 10 to January 10.

Volume 35
American Federation of Arts
MacMillan Company, 1941
Chinatown Artists Club
639 Kearney Street
Dong Kingman Pres.
David P. Chun Treas.
Cheechin S. C. Lee V.P.
H. W. Key Sec
Open to the public, 9 a. m. to 5 p.m. daily; Saturday to 1 p.m.
Organized 1930, as Chinese Art Association, reorganized and name changed, 1937; to promote the interests of art and good fellowship among the artists. Annual meeting in November. Membership 25; dues, $1. Annual exhibition by jury selection, December 10 to January 10.

Volume 37
American Federation of Arts
MacMillan Company, 1945
Chinatown Artists Club
1278 California St. (9)
Hu Wai Kee, Pres.
Dong Kingman, English Sec.
Cheechin S. C. Lee, Chinese Sec.
Free 1 to 4 PM; el. Sat. & Sun.
Est. 1930, as Chinese Art Association; reorganized and name changed, 1937. Ann. meet. Nov. Memb. 25; dues $1. Annual exhibition in Feb.

Berkeley Daily Gazette
August 17, 1943
(click image to enlarge)

Arts Magazine
February 15, 1945
Chinatown Artists Exhibition
The Chinatown Artists Club in San Francisco is holding its 4th Annual Exhibition of oils and watercolors this month at the de Young Museum. Nine artists, including the nationally known watercolorist, Dong Kingman, are represented by 36 pictures. The show is current through Mar. 5.

(Next post June 14: Monroe Leung)

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Teng Hiok Chiu in Who’s Who in China

Who’s Who in China
Biographies of Chinese Leaders
Fifth Edition
The China Weekly Review, 1936
page 59, column 2
(click image to enlarge)

A lengthy biography is here.

(Next post June 7: Chinatown Artists Club)