Dr. TF Chen’s
“Spirit of Liberty Series”
In 1986, on the occasion of the Centennial Celebration of the Statue of Liberty, Dr. Chen, an immigrant from Taiwan and an American citizen since 1983, determined to paint 100 paintings in homage to the Liberty Lady. Dr. Chen expressed them in his signature Neo-Iconography style and exhibited them at Lucia Gallery in SoHo, NYC. Crowds of tourists covered the area during the “Liberty Weekend” on July 4th - 14th.
Dr. Chen’s artworks were met with immediate and vast media coverage and appreciation:
“I was astonished and enthralled at my first glimpse of Dr. T.F. Chen’s Statue of Liberty paintings,” remarked Paul I. Kinney, Museum Curator of the American Museum of Immigration, Statue of Liberty National Monument.
He continued: “The beauty, complexity, and humor of the works delighted me. Even more, his obvious love and fascination for this great symbol of America struck me. As an immigrant, Dr. Chen viewed Ms. Liberty with a fresh perspective and has helped the rest of us to see her in all her complexity. It is most appropriate that the creative energy of an immigrant, one of the millions who have helped to build America over the last century, should produce this beautiful gift to the Statue of Liberty on her Centennial” (April 29, 1986).
Lawrence Jeppson is a noted art consultant, historian, curator, writer, editor, publisher, lecturer, and appraiser.
He comments: “In these past few months, Chen has created a commemorative cavalcade to Liberty that has no counterpart, either in number, variety, inventiveness, or passion, as he shows that Liberty is bound up inextricably with every human endeavor.”
He continued: “This eye-popping cargo of Liberty litanies is also a hosanna to the flowering of Neo-Iconography, which is a limitless way to uniting time and space and esthetic diversity into fresh artistic expression and insights. Neo-Iconography can make us think, feel, and even laugh.”
“As the Prophet, Seer, and Revelator for Neo-Iconography, Chen appropriates visual images from man’s treasury of art and experiences and imaginatively molds them into beautiful and powerful new paintings. These paintings reward us with fresh thrills and insights without cutting us off from our visual heritage. He has bound together, in a saturated vision, the cultures of Asia, Europe, and America to create this astonishing tribute to the Statue of Liberty…The number of different icons utilized in the Liberty series is in the hundreds for the centennials..."
On May 12, 1986, a special issue of New York Magazine was devoted completely to the Liberty Celebration. Inside the magazine Dr. Chen’s Sunday Morning, Liberty! was presented in full color on a full-page spread, along with paintings by Robert Rauschenberg, Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein, etc. On July 14, his honorable David L. Wolper, the conductor and General-Supervisor of the Centennial Celebration visited the Chens and collected 5 pieces of artwork, including the original I Love Paris, I Love Liberty, along with 500 copies of Dr. Chen’s art book, The Spirit of Liberty. During the Festival, Dr. Chen was interviewed and his artworks were featured more than a dozen times on CNN and other media and broadcasted to the whole world.