Spotlight: Ting’s ‘Ladies With Parrots’

Spotlight: Ting’s ‘Ladies With Parrots’

Walasse Ting (1929-2010) is a expressive Chinese-American artist who forged a successful international artistic career when he moved to France in 1952 then New York in 1957.

Cheerful, colourful and vibrant, Walasse’s work is a testament to his love for women, flowers, birds and animals. A true bon vivant, he was also known for his poetry, prose, dancing and singing.

His early work was, you could say, typically Chinese – monochromatic black and white drawings and paintings. Since moving to America, Ting was inspired by Pop artists (Andy Warhol) and Abstract Expressionists (Jackson Pollock) of the time and so his artistic style quickly and developed to the expressive colourful work he is known for today.

‘Ladies with Parrots’ (acrylic on paper) is stylistic and vibrant, typical of Ting’s portfolio. Full of colourful, simplistic shapes, there is a primitive naivety to his art – a childlike, theatrical intensity focusing on beauty and femininity over any background. Indeed, his style is more akin to textile making or poster making, and similar to Gauguin’s Tahitian paintings of local people. The colours, shapes and childlike observance of the subject are also reminiscent of geisha the idea of body politic or theatre.

Ting experimented with abstraction, creating form with many daubs of paint to suggest a whole rather than drawing particular shapes and objects – his art was never classified as abstract art unlike Pollock, with whom he shared similar brush strokes.

Ting forged a successful commercial career and a large following, leaving hundreds of paintings now featuring in Sothebys, Guggenheim, Tate Modern, Centre Pompidou, Metropolitan Museum of Art to name a few.