John Way [Wei Letang] (Chinese/American, 1921-2012)
Signed and dated "John Way '72" l.r., also signed, titled, dated, and inscribed "JOHN
WAY...JUNE 4 1972..." on the reverse.
Oil on canvas, 52 x 40 in. (132.1 x 101.6 cm), framed.
Condition: Craquelure, minor surface grime.
Provenance: Through the family of the artist.
N.B. Shanghai-born Way was a student of the modern Chinese calligrapher Li Jian (Chinese, d. c. 1950). He immigrated to the United States in 1956 and settled in Boston, where he studied Architecture at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. (1) The Abstract Expressionist ethos resonated with him throughout his career, and his oeuvre can be characterized as a synthesis of Chinese calligraphy (particularly cursive script) and gestural abstraction. Way was the only Asian-American artist to exhibit alongside Jackson Pollock, Helen Frankenthaler, and Morris Louis, among others, in the 1965 show Painting Without a Brush at the Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston. More recently, he was the subject of exhibitions at Shanghai Art Museum in 2001, and at the Honolulu Academy of Arts in 2006.
1. Sullivan, Michael, Modern Chinese Artists: A Biographical Dictionary (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2006), p. 169.
Craquelure throughout; slack tension on stretcher bars with subtle bulge to l.l. quadrant; would benefit from a cleaning.
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