Print Closeup: Seong Moy’s “Lovers in Flight”

Seong Moy (1921-2013) immigrated from China to the United States when he was ten years old. He worked for the Federal Arts Project of the Depression era Works Project Administration and served in the Army during WWII as an aerial photographer. He received a fellowship to Stanley William Hayter’s infamous Atelier 17 in 1948, where he intensively studied printmaking.

Moy created Lovers in Flight in 1952 while while living  in Minnesota. The woodcut is distinctly Abstract Expressionist with flowing, lyrical lines, subtle use of color, and abstracted subject matter that only vaguely suggests two lovers “in flight.”  The figure to the left with a breast in side view appears to be a woman. Another ambiguous figure has a bundle of circular lines and sprouting shapes in detail one. The red area in the “detail 2” is rendered with small cut marks and contained in thick black lines. This could be the shared heart of the lovers. Other areas in the frenetic scene hint at hands and legs. The colors and the way they generate fragmented, implied movement in this work are common in Moy’s other prints of the period.


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2 Responses to Print Closeup: Seong Moy’s “Lovers in Flight”

  1. Sheldon Yourist says:

    Dear Mglenn76, I found this posting when doing research on the same print which we inherited from a family member. We recent just discovered the artists name at an antiques road show over the weekend. Seung Moy was an amazing artist. I found it interesting that you name this print Lovers in Flight and yet mine, which is exactly the same one is called Torso in Flight. Could it be that I have an earlier version when the artist was still deciding what to name the print? Anyways, I enjoyed reading your detailed comments. Do you have any idea how many prints he produced of this particular print you wrote about? SYourist

    • mglenn76 says:

      Thanks for your reply, and interest in Seong Moy’s artwork. He was indeed a great artist, and deserves more attention. Generally speaking we don’t arbitrarily title works, we go by what the markings on the work tell us, or what the work has been titled historically. For instance, the painting by Leonardo da Vinci now called Mona Lisa, 1503-06 was essentially untitled by the artist at the time of his death, but is derived from the biography of da Vinci written by the Renaissance historian Giorgio Vasari (1511-1574). Often artists can forget a title’s name in the moment of signing after a time, or they may change subtle elements such as colors, or print method and give the work an alternate title. Our version in the collection has the title of Lovers in Flight as written by the artist.

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