This is the Orient— the Orient is Hong Kong

24 02 2008

This is the Orient— the Orient is Hong Kong
Illustration by Dong Kingman
Holiday, April 1961
Originally uploaded by Paula Wirth

Inspired by Leif Peng of Today’s Inspiration, who has been posting great illustrations from mid-century Holiday magazines, I am featuring advertising illustrations by the amazing illustrator Dong Kingman (1911 – 2000), printed in Holiday’s April 1961 edition (entirely devoted to San Francisco).

Born in Oakland, CA, of Chinese decent, Dong Kingman had an impressive and long career as an artist/illustrator and teacher, including work as a WPA project artist in the 30s and 40s (and pioneer of the “California Style” of painting) and producing cover illustration for Time, Life, Fortune, New York Times, and the Saturday Review. His paintings appear in galleries around the world. His watercolors were even used as mood backgrounds for Hollywood movies.

Read his full bio

See advertisements for the Hong Kong Tourist Association, and for travel to San Francisco.

You can bet I will be looking for more examples of his work to share with you in the future.

More about Dong Kingman and his work…




4 responses

25 02 2008

These are really wonderful, Paula! Thanks for posting some work by Kingman, an artist whose work I’ve only seen a very few examples of – and that’s really confounding, because he was one of the principle faculty members of the Famous Artists School along with some of the most prolific illustrators of the time!

I had always been curious about Kingman and you’ve done a great job of satisfying that curiousity with your excellent post.

Thanks and best wishes – Leif 🙂

27 12 2008
dong kingman, jr.

Thanks for showing my father’s Ladder Street advertisement which is one of his finest watercolors. Currently, two of Dong Kingman’s paintings may be been at the deYoung milestone exhibition in San Francisco, “Asian American Modern: Shifting Currents “(one on loan from the Metropolitan Museum) until January 19. The exhibit will move to Noguchi Museum in February.

Also, two large murals, Chinese Festival, at the Washington Mutual Bank on Canal St. and East Meets West at Brooklyn Central Public Library may be seen in New York and Brooklyn, respectively.

The Ladder Street poster/ advertisement was part of a series commissioned by
the Hong Kong Tourist Board (see for others). Though Kingman’s watercolors are in the permanent collections of 60 museums, I do think more can be done to hiighlight one of the premier watercolor masters and illustrators of the 20th century and to this end I am developing a documentary on the depth and range of his artistic career.

27 12 2008

Thanks so much for the info!! I love his work, and since I am a member of the De Young, I plan to go see his works in the exhibit asap! I look forward to seeing as much of his work as possible…

13 05 2010

i just today bought two of his early prints …his son was kind enuff to reply to tell me yes they are his fathers work….he wasnt sure if they were lithographs or what is entitled fishermans wharf san francisco….the other is called turn about san francisco….both are sign with his las name kingman and some chinese after signature and also his name dong kingman is printed…if any one has any info i would love to know more…or to even share pictures of them…they are just wonderful

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