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 Hon Chew Hee  (1906 - 1993)

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Lived/Active: Hawaii/California      Known for: Hawaiian life, serigraph, mural

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Hon Chew Hee
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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Hawaiian artist Hon Chew Hee, born on Maui, is best known for his watercolors and serigraphs. He was educated in Hawaii and China and in San Francisco at the California School of Fine Art. He also studied in New York at the Art Students League and Columbia University and in Paris with Andre Lhote and Fernand Leger.

From 1932 to the beginning of World War II, he lived in San Francisco where he founded the Chinese Art Association. For the remainder of his life, he lived in Kaneohe, a suburb of Honolulu.

In 1991, Hee began working on a mural, 10 feet by 160 feet, for the Honolulu International Airport. Two years later, on May 17, 1993, he died in his home town.

In his memory, a Best in Show award is given at the biannual Hawaii Watercolor Society's shows. Caroline Hee is his daughter.

His work is in the Taiwan National Museum, Honolulu Academy of Arts, and the Hawaii State Capital. Mural work is at the Oakland Naval Supply Center, Maui Medical Center, and the Community Church of Honolulu.


Source:
Hawaii Watercolor Society
Edan Hughes, "Artists in California, 1786-1940"


Biography from Isaacs Art Center at Hawaii Preparatory Academy:
Although born in Kahalui, Maui in 1906, Hon Chew Hee grew up in China, where he received his early training in Chinese brush painting. When he returned to the United States, he pursued further training at the California School of Fine Arts, San Francisco, receiving that school's highest academic honor, the Virgil Williams Scholarship.

After teaching for some time in China he returned to Hawaii in 1935 where he worked as a freelance artist and held classes in both Western and Eastern styles of painting. Together with Isami Doi (1903-1965), Hee taught painting classes at the YMCA. At this time, Doi instructed the young artist in woodcarving techniques and Hee, like his master, created remarkable wood engravings drawn from the rural life in the Islands. Also interested in screen-printing, Hee founded the Hawaii Watercolor and Serigraph Society.

Hon Chew Hee spent three years in Paris in the 1940s studying with Fernand Leger and Andre Lhote. At that time, he was exposed to the influence of the post-cubists, Jean Arp in particular.

Hon Chew Hee is a very versatile artist. He completed six major murals for the State of Hawaii, including the History of Medicine for Hilo Hospital and the great murals that greet every departing Aloha and Hawaiian Air traveler at the Honolulu Inter-island Terminal. His vast range of expression encompasses watercolor, etching, oils and serigraphs. Hon Chew Hee has earned international respect and appreciation for his accomplishments and contribution to the visual arts including the 1985 Oscar awarded to him by the Italian Academy. In 1986, the Hawaii House of Representatives passed a unanimous resolution commending him for his many achievements.
---Bernard Nogues, July 2004

** If you discover credit omissions or have additional information to add, please let us know at registrar@AskART.com.


Hon Hee is also mentioned in these AskART essays:
Artists who painted Hawaii

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