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Don Hong-Oai

b. China, 1929; died U.S.A., 2004

Fong Chi, Central Vietnam, Silver print, 1966, printed ca. 1980.
Fong Chi, Central Vietnam, Silver print, 1966, printed ca. 1980.
ReturnFong Chi, Central Vietnam

Inventory number: 6917

Title: Fong Chi, Central Vietnam

Date: 1966, printed ca. 1980

Medium: Silver print

Image size: 14 in (35.6 cm) high by 10⅞ in (27.6 cm) wide

Description: Signed and dated, “1966,” in ink, on the mount.

Price: $3,500


ReturnDon Hong-Oai

Don Hong-Oai was born in 1929 in Guangzhou, China. At the age of seven, after the sudden death of his parents, Don was sent off to live in a Chinese community in Saigon, Vietnam.

In Saigon, Don was apprenticed to a photography studio where learned the fundamentals of photography and developed an affection for landscape photography, which he practiced on his time off using one of the studio’s cameras. In 1950, at the age of 21, he began studying at the Vietnam National Art University.

After a border war broke out between the Socialist Republic of Vietnam and the People’s Republic of China in 1979, the Vietnamese government instituted repressive measures against ethnic Chinese living in the country, Don became one of the millions of “boat people” who fled Vietnam in the late 1970s and early 1980s.

At the age of 50, speaking no English, Don settled in San Francisco. He traveled to China periodically to shoot photographs and to Taiwan to study with Long Chin-San, a prominent Taiwanese photographer .

Long Chin-San had developed a style of photography based on the long tradition of landscape imagery in Chinese art.  Don adopted Long’s technique of layering negatives to correspond with the three distinct tiers of distance typically delineated in Chinese landscape painting.

Don’s new work modeled on this ancient style began to draw critical attention in the 1990s, selling in galleries throughout the U.S., in Europe and in Asia to private art collectors, corporate buyers and museums.


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