Abstract (diptych)


Mixed media on canvas

163 x 224 cm

Signed lower right John Way and dated 2001

4,200,000 - 5,600,000
1,000,000 - 1,333,300
128,000 - 170,700
Sold Price

Ravenel Spring Auction 2007


John WAY (Chinese-American, 1921 - 2012)

Abstract (diptych)

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John Way Retrospective-80 Years, Shanghai Art Museum, Shanghai, 2001


John Way Retrospective-80 Years, Shanghai Art Museum, Shanghai, 2001, color illustrated, pp. 282-283

Catalogue Note:

John Way was born on 1921 in Ma Chu Town, Yu Yao city. He learned calligraphy from Li Ruiging's nephew Li Jian, and was focused mainly on Chinese ancient stone engraving works, he held two calligraphy exhibitions in Shanghai in the '40s. In 1946 he went to Hong Kong and began study western oil paintings; in 1957 he enrolled to Massachusetts Institute of Technology to study art; in 1958 he settled in Boston, and moved to California in 1973.

Way studied Chinese ancient stone monument and bronze inscriptions, he spent most of his life working on the inscriptions and studying the originals, and they deeply influenced his painting style. During the past 60 years, Way addressed himself to find the intersection point of Chinese calligraphy and paintings, gradually, he adapted calligraphy shape of lines as his main element in paintings. He directly presented his research on Chinese calligraphy in an experimental way to his oil paintings.

During his studying in US, the abstract expressionism helped him to find the intersect ion point of paint ings and calligraphy. Way's paintings adapted the colors from French impressionism, the layout of American abstract expressionism, and the spirit of Chinese calligraphy, he's skilled at colors and leaving white spaces, and use them skillfully, formed a powerful form of art. In his works we see many calligraphy traces, he used those calligraphy strokes not for writings, and he doesn't construct spaces like what's done in Western paintings, he presented what's in his mind, he used lines to pursue speed and weight, to fill up the space cleverly, what' s appeared on the canvas is a composition of rationality and exactitude, it's those powerful brush strokes that that brings up the aura of the whole picture.