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Published by the Public Affairs Office at San Francisco State University, Diag Center.


Contact: Ariane Bicho
phone: (415) 338-1442

Art Exhibit

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Retrospective Jointly Sponsored by the Chinese Historical Society of America & Chinese American National Museum and San Francisco State Universityıs College of Creative Arts


SAN FRANCISCO--Considered the most famous Chinese in mid-century America, watercolor master Dong Kingman is the subject of a retrospective exhibition, Dong Kingman in San Francisco, opening Saturday, November 17, 2001 at the Chinese Historical Society of America & Chinese American National Museum, San Francisco. Jointly sponsored by San Francisco State Universityıs College of Creative Arts, the highly focused exhibition features 25 watercolors of San Francisco scenes painted between 1935 and the mid-eighties. Viewers can see the development of the artistıs influential style and marvel at the ease in which he fused traditional Chinese and modern Western techniques.

Dong Kingman in San Francisco seeks, in part, to demonstrate Mr. Kingman's brilliant achievements. "Kingman's reputation as 'Americaıs favorite watercolorist' and his regular mention in Herb Caenıs column almost eclipsed his reputation as a serious painter for a time," says Harry S. Parker III, director of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco. "As we look again at these early examples of Kingman's work, we can appreciate anew his fresh vision and skillful ability to capture the Bay Area"s weather, light and atmosphere." Principal organizer and photographer Irene Poon and Co-curator and SFSU Professor and painter Mark Johnson add, "Kingman's earlier work circa 1960--its bright mood and bravura--almost suggest Wayne Thiebaud's imagery of San Franciscoıs street scenes a few decades later."

Dong Kingman (1911-2000) is recognized as one of the premier watercolor masters in America and a pioneer of the California school of painting. Born in Oakland, California as Dong Moy Shu, Mr. Kingman returned to Hong Kong with his family at age five. There, at the Lingnan School, he studied painting with a Paris-trained teacher. When he returned to Oakland in 1929, he already excelled at calligraphy and watercolor painting; however, he enrolled at a local art school to further his studies. A solo exhibition in San Francisco in 1936 elevated him to national recognition. In the decades that followed, Mr. Kingman became the recipient of every major award for watercolors, including two Guggenheim Fellowships (1942/1943), a Metropolitan Museum of Art Award (1975) and the American Watercolor Societyıs Dolphin Medal (1987). Dong Kingman's work is represented in the permanent collections of 50 museums and universities, including the M.H. de Young Memorial Museum, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Whitney Museum, Museum of Modern Art, Boston Museum of Fine Arts, Hirshhorn Museum, Art Institute of Chicago and Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts.

Dong Kingman in San Francisco began as a luncheon conversation with the late Helena and Dong Kingman in 1997. It features works from the collections of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and individual collectors.

The exhibition is made possible by San Francisco Hotel Tax/Grants for the Arts, the New York Life Insurance Company, Square 2 and anonymous donors.

ADMISSION AND INFORMATION Admission to Dong Kingman in San Francisco is adults $3, students with ID and seniors $2, children 6-17 years old $1. Admission is free for museum members and children 5 and under and on the first Thursday of each month. Museum hours are Tuesday through Friday, 11 am to 4 pm; Saturdays & Sundays noon to 4 pm; closed Mondays. The Chinese Historical Society & Chinese American National Museum is located at 965 Clay Street, at Powell Street, San Francisco. For more information, please call the museum at 415/ 391-1188.


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Last modified April 24, 2007, by Office of Public Affairs