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Tseng Yuho (Betty Ecke) (b. 1925)

“Anthem of the Crickets” 1993

Dsui painting, mounted on a panel
76.2 x 76.2 cm. (30 x 30 in.)

Born in Beijing in 1925, Tseng Yuho had a privileged upbringing, studying painting from an early age with an imperial prince and continuing at universities in Shanghai and Beijing as a student of Chinese classical poetry and art history. She settled in Hawaii with her husband, Gustav Ecke, a distinguished scholar and collector of Chinese furniture in 1949, and after his death in 1971, she received a doctorate from the Fine Arts Institute at New York University. This led to a career in writing and teaching until her retirement from the University of Hawaii in 1986. Early on she had one-woman shows in Beijing, London, and New York City and over these decades developed her own distinctive and ever-experimental style of painting, which was discussed at length in the Kaikodo Journal XVI (May 2000), “By Design: The Art of Tseng Yuho.” The term the artist coined to describe her innovative and idiosyncratic work is dsui hua, or dsui painting. The literal meaning of dsui is to connect or to patch, referring to collage-like constructs combining handmade papers, tapa cloth from the Hawaiian tradition, metallic foil and pigment. Based originally on natural forms, Betty’s works tend toward abstraction, as in the present work from late in the artist’s career.

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