Cross-cultural dialogue and artistic innovation: Teng Baiye and Mark Tobey

David Clarke

in Chinese Art and Its Encounter with the World

Published by Hong Kong University Press

Published in print October 2011 | ISBN: 9789888083060
Published online January 2012 | e-ISBN: 9789882209794 | DOI:
Cross-cultural dialogue and artistic innovation: Teng Baiye and Mark Tobey

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When American painter Mark Tobey (1890–1976) discussed his artistic development, he emphasized the importance of his study of Chinese brushwork, undertaken in Seattle with a Chinese friend, in liberating him from bondage to the Renaissance heritage and in permitting him to discover the dynamic linearity that became the hallmark of his style. Referred to variously in English as ‘T'eng Kwei’, ‘Teng Kuei’, ‘Teng-Kroei’, ‘Teng Quay’, or even ‘Kwei Dun’, the artist in question was Teng Gui, known to many in China by his pen name Teng Baiye. This chapter attempts to throw more light on that former Seattle resident, tracing his career following his return to China. By putting together information on Teng from Western and Chinese sources, it is possible to suggest that this artist has a greater historical importance—as both a cultural interpreter and as an artistic practitioner—than he has so far been accorded in either China or America.

Keywords: Mark Tobey; Teng Gui; Seattle; China; artistic practitioner; America

Chapter.  9102 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Society and Culture

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