09-20-2013 09-20-2013
Skinner Auctions
Skinner Auctions Boston MA
2673B Boston
September 20, 2013 10:00 AMCalender

John Way [Wei Letang] (Chinese/American, 1921-2012) Spring

Auction: American & European Works of Art - 2673B Location: Boston Date / Time: September 20, 2013 10:00AM


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.
Estimate $8,000-12,000

Craquelure throughout; slack tension on stretcher bars with subtle bulge to l.l. quadrant; would benefit from a cleaning.

The absence of a condition statement does not imply that the lot is in perfect condition or completely free from wear and tear, imperfections or the effects of aging. Condition requests can be obtained via email (lot inquiry button) or by telephone to the appropriate gallery location (Boston/617.350.5400 or Marlborough/508.970.3000). Any condition statement given, as a courtesy to a client, is only an opinion and should not be treated as a statement of fact. Skinner Inc. shall have no responsibility for any error or omission.


Wei Letang, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, United States, Massachusetts, Morris Louis, Institute of Contemporary Art, Helen Frankenthaler, Jackson Pollock, Honolulu Academy of Arts, Shanghai Art Museum, University of California Press