Dong Kingman A Chinese-American Watercolorist
May 16, 2016
, also known as Dong Moy Shu, was born in Oakland, California on March 31, 1911. At the age of 5, his family moved back to Hong Kong in order to open a dry goods business. In Hong Kong, he attended the Chan Sun Wen School where he excelled in both drawing and painting. While living in China, Kingman became the pupil of Szeto Wai. It was here that Kingman was introduced to European art styles such as impressionism. During his training, Kingman was able to recognize his talent for the arts, and when his family moved back to Oakland in 1929, his passion prompted him to enroll in the Fox Morgan Art School.
During the Great depression, Kingman was part of the Works Progress Administration, which was intended to assist in the employment of artists. During this time, Kingman was paid minimum wage to produce works of art which in turn became the property of the government. After the Great depression, Kingman enlisted in the United States Army, where he served as an artist for the Office of Strategic Services (OSS). This military involvement lead to him receiving a Guggenheim Fellowship. After the chaos of the past decade of his life, Kingman decided to settle in Brooklyn, New York where he continued to grow his career as an artist.
In the beginning of his career, Kingman experimented with many different mediums. However, as his career progressed, watercolor became his primary medium. Dong Kingman’s artwork most typically depicts city landscapes, using bright and vivid colors to add both life and drama to the watercolor. When painting people, Kingman is very animated and painterly, focusing more on the overall idea. This contrasts the great detail with which he renders his buildings and landscapes.
Dong Kingman is a featured artist in the Hilbert Museum of California Art. The paintings Red and Green as well as Strolling Down Washington Street can currently be found on display. The Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) also has art by Dong Kingman in their collection.