Born on a rare snowy day in San Francisco on January 21, Jade Snow Wong was the fifth of nine children of Chinese immigrant parents, and raised with the traditional beliefs and customs of Chinese culture. Her father would not allow her to date and disapproved of her having a college education. But she was determined.
Wong went to college and majored in economics and sociology. She wanted to become a social worker. She attended San Francisco City College and graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Mills College in 1942.
While in college, Wong took a pottery class and after school had no money to rent a studio. So she persuaded a merchant to let her work on her pottery wheel in the front window of her store. Her family was horrified. In 1950, she married an artist Woodrow Ong and had four children. She was widowed in 1986.
Copper and enamel, 1947, 10-1/2 inches in diameter, MET Museum
In 1952, she did a one-woman show at the Art Institute of Chicago that later traveled to art museums in Detroit, the Joslyn Museum in Omaha and Portland Art Museum; and then traveled to Singapour, Calcutta, Dehli, Kuala Lumpur, Karachi and other locations. She was part of group exhibitions at the Denver Art Museum, Cincinnati Art Museum and San Francisco Museum of Art, the National Collection of Fine Arts at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC and the Cincinnati Art Museum.
Earthenware and enamel, 1950, 10 inches in diameter, Skinner, December 6, 2014, lot 350
Her work is in the permanent collections of the Detroit Institute of Arts, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Joslyn Art Museum, Florida State University, Oakland Art Museum and the International Ceramic Museum in Faenza, Italy.
She was also the author of two autobiographies “Fifth Chinese Daughter” and “No Chinese Stranger.”