Friday, June 21, 2013

The Runaway Apprentice

Margery Evernden
Random House, 1949
(click images to enlarge)

Publishers’ Weekly
November 5, 1949


Jeanyee Wong, calligrapher, designer and illustrator, was born in San Francisco, California, in 1920. Interested in drawing from early childhood, she started to study Chinese calligraphy at the age of three. This, no doubt, accounts for the disciplined and graceful pen line, and the fine letter forms displayed in her contemporary work. Sculpture and ceramics were studied in high school, but her formal art education began at Cooper Union School of Art, in New York. It was here, that in addition to painting and sculpture, an intensive training in lettering and design was pursued. This was followed later by an association with Fritz Kredel, with whom she studied wood-cutting and illustration.

Jeanyee Wong is perhaps at her best in stories of the Orient, where her knowledge of customs and costumes is important, as in her recent book, The Runaway Apprentice (Random House, 1949); however, we also find her deftness and creative talents capably displayed in other characterizations as in The Redcrosse Knight (Sheed & Ward, 1945). Among other books are, The Wisdom of Confucius (Illustrated Modern Library, 1943), Sun Yat-sen (Vanguard, 1946), Gospel Rhymes (Sheed & Ward, 1947), and The Red Chair Waits (Westminster Press, 1948). In the all hand-written volume, The Flower Lover and the Fairies (Archway Press, 1946), her exquisite, flowing calligraphy is combined harmoniously with a delicacy of illustration.

The work of Jeanyee Wong possesses that pronounced sureness of line, spontaneity of movement, and capable draughtsmanship indicative of the skilled artist. Likewise her interpretive imagination and diverse illustration technique brings to her drawings an infinite variety and decorative beauty.

This is one of a Series on the History of Book Illustration by Richard Ellis
Kingsport Press, Inc., Makers of Books, Kingsport, Tennessee
New York: 1 East 57th Street & Chicago: 325 West Huron Street

(Next post June 25: Golden Slippers)

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