Chinese modernist painter Teng Hiok Chiu (1903-1972) was born in South China and received a Western education at the behest of his father, a wealthy politician. In 1920, Chiu attended Harvard University for a semester where he realized his interest in painting, and subsequently enrolled in the School of Art at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. Chiu then lived and studied in Europe from 1923 to 1930. At the Royal Academy of Arts, he gained acclaim for being the first student to win all prizes and scholarships in each competition he entered. He was quickly embraced by the leading art circles of the West as one of their own.
During his time in England, Chiu became interested in Chinese art and worked with Laurence Binyon, the curator of the department of Oriental prints and paintings, at the British Museum in 1929 and returned to China in 1930. In the following decade, Chiu exhibited his work all over the globe. He arrived in New York in 1942, where his work was included in the prestigious Knoedler’s Gallery collection and he befriended Georgia O’Keeffe, who admired his use of western and eastern elements in his oil paintings. A posthumous show featuring his work was exhibited at the Frye Art Museum in Seattle in 2003.
At MacDowell, Chiu worked in Star and New Hampshire studios.