Widely recognized as a representative artist of Hong Kong, Wucius Wong is known for his lyrical landscapes that are in part inspired by geometric forms and design principles. Little known is his early aspiration to be a poet and his youthful yet talented experimentations with colors and drawings. For over half a century, Wong prudently safeguarded his early works, and rarely showed them to anyone. At eighty, he decided the time to entrust these highly personal works to a long-term custodian has come, and he has selflessly donated a significant body of works to The Chinese University of Hong Kong. The Art Museum is pleased and honored to present them for the first time.
This group of twenty-two works, painted between 1956 to 1962, shows diverse painting styles, attesting to the vibrant mind of the young artist in his twenties at the time. In his own words, he was ‘searching for identity’ during the late fifties and early sixties, when he painted briefly under the tutelage of Lui Shou-kwan (1919-1975) and later studied in the U.S. The early works include plein air paintings in water-color and felt-pen, cartoonish drawings, checkerboard-like landscape, Klee-esque line-drawings, impressionistic harbor scenes painted with palette knives, journalistic portraits of daily life, etc. Their diversity indicates that Wong was interested in and informed of the latest developments of Western art, as well as the endless possibilities that modern art promised. They are not solely personal expressions, but also reflections of a thoughtful artist who made sensitive observations of his surroundings. These poetic pictures anticipate Wong’s lifelong explorations in art.