‘Hawaiian Life’ by Hon Chew Hee (1906–1993)
19.5″ x 26″ with frame, 13.1″ x 19″ image only
Signed, titled and numbered 8/22 in pencil.
Professionally matted and framed. Ready to hang!
Condition: Excellent. A few foxing spots.
From the estate of Caroline Hee, the artist’s daughter.
Comes with a packet of provenance papers about the artist. These fascinating documents include a Resolution by the City and County of Honolulu, declaring Hon Chew Hee one of Hawaii’s “Living Treasures,” an official letter awarding Hee the Accademia Italia’s “Oscar D’Italia 1985” and a letter to his daughter, Caroline Hee, from The State Foundation on Culture and the Arts listing Hee’s many accomplishments for the State of Hawaii and posthumously praising this exceptional man.
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Hon Chew Hee (1906 – 1993) was a muralist, watercolorist and printmaker who was born in Kahului, on the Island of Maui in 1906. He grew up in China, where he received his early training in Chinese brush painting. He returned to the United States in 1920 at age 14 in order to further his training at the San Francisco Art Institute, receiving that school’s highest academic honor. He then taught in China until moving to Hawaii in 1935. In Hawaii, 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 wood engravings drawn from the rural life in the Islands. Hee also founded the Hawaii Watercolor and Serigraph Society.
From 1932 to the beginning of World War II, Hee lived in San Francisco, where he founded the Chinese Art Association. For the remainder of his life, he lived in Kaneohe, on the Island of Oahu, where he died in 1993.
Hee completed six murals for the Hawaii State Foundation on Culture and the Arts, the best known of which are The History of Medicine in Hilo Hospital and the murals that greet departing travelers at the Inter-island Terminal of Honolulu International Airport. His other murals were painted for Manoa Library, Enchanted Lake Elementary School, Pukalani Elementary School, and Mililani Library.