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(2016)

Moy compound | House.

The Abstract Expressionist painter and printmaker Seong Moy was born in the province of Guangdong in 1921 and immigrated from China at the age of 10, settling with other family members in St. Paul, Minn. He studied under Cameron Booth at the Saint Paul School of Art (now the Minnesota Museum of American Art), and was involved with the W.P.A. at the time it was remaking the Walker Art Galleries in neighboring Minneapolis as the Walker Art Center. (The Walker family is well represented in town at the Berta Walker Gallery, 208 Bradford Street.) In the 1940s, he won a scholarship to study at the Art Students League of New York but interrupted his studies to serve as an aerial reconnaissance photographer attached to the 14th Air Force, the “Flying Tigers,” in the China India Burma Theater. He returned to New York after the war with his new wife, Sui Yung, according to a short biography written by their daughter Adrienne Moy. He resumed his relationship with Booth, who introduced him to Provincetown, and also studied with Hans Hofmann. Stuart Preston of The New York Times said in 1951 that Moy was “going strong … exploring with verve and ingenuity the lyrical abstract field that he has made his own.” The next year, The Times’s critic Aline B. Loucheim described a “triumph of a 10-color woodcut” to which Moy had brought “the lunging movement of Chinese calligraphy.” Another Times critic, Howard Devree, saw something else in Moy’s paintings: “With flashing areas of reds, yellows, and blues he suggests the gorgeous robes of Oriental actors, swirling in a kaleidoscopic movement of changing hues and planes.” In 1954, the year of Devree’s enthusiastic review, the artist opened the Seong Moy School of Painting and Graphic Arts in Provincetown. “So I’m a newcomer,” he recalled in an interview with Paul Cummings for the Smithsonian’s Archives of American Art, “and, as is the way of human nature, people are always looking for something new.” More milestones were to come in 1955, when Moy won a Guggenheim Fellowship and, with his wife, bought the house at 7 Brewster Street from Ernest W. and Marie I. Benoit. Printing classes were held in the basement. The studio next door, also 7 Brewster Street, was constructed in 1957 and finished the next year.

¶ Last updated on 26 December 2016.


Jeff Notaro wrote on 27 March 2014: I was delivering propane gas to this residence last summer (2013) when Mrs. Moy came out and talked a bit and mentioned that her husband, Seong, had passed away that June. He was 92. Such wonderful people. I and my family were former neighbors of theirs until my parents sold 170 Bradford Street, which is on the corner of Brewster and Bradford, in 2011, after 41 years. I’m sure he’ll be missed by many, including me.


Jacqueline Moy wrote on 9 November 2015: Thank you for including my father in your book. The studio was built in the winter of 1957 and completed during the summer of 1958. The school closed in 1974 and my dad passed away in June 2013. We also have the house next to the studio. My dad had printing classes in basement.

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