Walasse Ting 丁雄泉 1929-2010


Born in Wuxi, China in 1929, but raised in Shanghai, Walasse Ting was a painter, sculptor, graphic artist, and poet who began his life as an artist at a very young age.  Walasse briefly attended the Shanghai Art Academy, but always considered himself to be self-taught, learning to draw with chalk on the street at a young age. In 1952 he immigrated to Paris, where he lived as a struggling artist but became associated with artists Karel Appel, Asger Jorn, and Pierre Alechinsky, members of the avant-garde group called COBRA.


Ting arrived in New York in 1958 at the height of the Abstract Expressionist period. He befriended the American artist Sam Francis, and the movement had a profound influence on his work. Together they worked to publish 1 Cent Life (1964), a book of Walasse's poetry illustrated by artists Karel Appel, Jim Dine, Andy Warhol, and Francis, among others. Bold dripping strokes featured prominently in his paintings, which at the time were mainly poetic abstractions in the manner of the Paris-based Chinese artist, Zao Wouki. In the 1970s Ting developed his now distinctive style using Chinese calligraphic brushstrokes to define outlines and filling flat areas of colour with vivid acrylic paint.


Walasse was awarded the Guggenheim Fellowship Award for drawing in 1970. His works can be found in many museum collections including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Guggenheim, the Tate Modern, Centre Pompidou, the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam; the Silkeborg Museum, Denmark; the Museum of Hong Kong; the Chicago Art Institute; and the Musee Cernuschi, Paris.


Since 2001, Ting had been settled in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. In 2010, he died at the age of 81 in New York.


Claiming himself “Flowers Thief”, Ting loved to draw women, flowers, parrots and horses. Bold colours and strong visual tension is the vivid imprint of his creation, while food and women are the main source of his inspiration. Besides painting, Ting also wrote poems. In the eighty-year life, Ting infused all of his passion and energy into his paintings.


Early Work

When Ting moved to Paris in 1952, he was strongly affected by Matisse and other masters, he started to create abstract oil paintings. Mainly in strong block of black, his works were full of unexpected force and flying emotions. Eight years later Ting emigrated to New York, where he became involved with the Pop artists and influenced by American Abstract Expressionism. Ting's early work was abstract, full of vibrant colours and energy. Bright hues of acrylic were flung onto his canvases, at times delicate and often intense, but always with an underlying sense of space.



At Garden Bridge, Shanghai, 1950 (left) and in Venice, 1957 (right)

Disctinctive Style

In the 1970s, Ting’s work began to transit from abstractions to boldly colored figurative works blending calligraphic brushstrokes with splatters, splashes, and bright fields of color. His widely collected series of female nudes exemplify his embrace of this decidedly Western, vivid coloration. Clearly having found his own identity as an artist, he continued to develop his now distinctive style of painting by exploring figurative themes of animals, birds, women and flowers. His daring use of colour has made him one of the most immediately recognizable artists of the 20th Century.

Ting once said, 
“ When I see a beautiful woman I see flowers. Its beauty makes me feel intangible, melancholy, love, refreshed, different and reborn. I want to use different colours to express my inner feelings and emotions in my paintings. I’ve spent all my life painting, to express a sense of freshness just like a new spring. Women, cats, flowers, and birds in my paintings all represent the beauty in that freshness.”



Cover of 1 Cent Life, Published 1964 (left); Ting at Garden Bridge, Shanghai, 1988 (right)




Born in Wuxi, Jiangsu Province, China


Moved to Hong Kong


Moved to Paris, France


Settled in New York, USA


Awarded a fellowship for drawing from the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation


Moved to Amsterdam, the Netherlands


Died in New York on 17 May


Selected Solo Exhibitions



Taipei Fine Arts Museum, Taipei, Taiwan


Scheringa Museum, Spanbroek, the Netherlands


Galerie Delaive, Amsterdam, the Netherlands


2RC Gallery, Milan, Italy


Galerie Alcolea, Barcelona, Spain


National Gallery of Art, Reykjavik, Iceland


Lefebre Gallery, New York, USA


Galerie Birch, Copenhagen, Denmark


Galerie de France, Paris, France


Martha Jackson Gallery, New York, USA


Galerie Chalette, New York, USA


Paul Fachetti Gallery, Paris, France



Notable Collections


Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, the Netherlands

Chicago Art lnstitue, Chicago, USA

Detroit Institute of Art, Detroit, USA

Chrysler Museum, Provincetown, USA

Musée Cernuschi, Paris, France

Silkeborg Kunstmuseum, Denmark

Randers Museum, Denmark

Rockerfeller University, New York, USA

Museum of Modern Art, New York, USA

Baltimore Museum, Baltimore, USA

Israel National Museum, Jerusalem, Israel

Philadephia Museum, Philadephia, USA

Carnegie lnstitue, Pittsburgh, USA

U.S. Steel, Pittsburgh, USA

Gulf Oil Corp, Pittsburgh, USA

Museum of Fine Art, Boston, USA

Santa Barbara Museum, Santa Barbara, USA

Chrysler Museum at Norfolk, Virginia, USA

Guggenheim Museum, New York, USA

Pasadena Art Museum, Pasadena, USA

Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, USA

Hopkins Center Art Galleries, Dartmouth Callege, Hannover, New Hampshire, USA

LA MoCA, Los Angeles, USA

Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, USA

National Gallery of Art, Reykjavik, Iceland

Hong Kong Museum of Art, Hong Kong

Taipei Fine Arts Museum, Taipei, Taiwan

Tate Gallery, London, England

Shanghai Art Museum, Shanghai, China

SAMA, Pennsylvania, USA