Yun Gee Papers (MSS 144)

Yun Gee, born near Canton, China in 1906, was a modernist painter of some acclaim. At the age of 15, he arrived in San Francisco and enrolled in the San Francisco Art Institute. He later studied at the California School of Fine Art under Gottardo Piazzoni and Otis Oldfield. In 1926, Gee turned his attention to avant-garde painting, renouncing his classical training. He went to Paris to pursue his career. It was there that he met and married Princess Paule de Reuss. Gee befriended Gertrude Stein and became involved in bohemian circles concerned with poetry and Cubist painting.

Gee moved to New York City in the early 1930’s where he exhibited in major galleries in New York City, including the Museum of Modern Art and the Brooklyn Museum. In San Francisco, Paris, and New York, Gee was often the first or only Chinese artist to show in major galleries. He, thus, wrestled with prejudice and discrimination of the art world all his life.

The Yun Gee Papers contain personal correspondence between Yun Gee and his late second wife, Helen Gee (nee Wimmer), photography curator and proprietor of Greenwich Village’s influential gallery-cafeĀ Limelight.

To learn more about the Asian American Arts Centre Records, located at the NYU Fales Library and Special Collections, view the finding aid.