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 to attribute to the Liberty Lady. Dr. Chen expressed them in his signature style of Neo-Iconography and continued to exhibit newly finished paintings at Lucia gallery in SoHo, the most crowded touristic area during the “Liberty weekend” on July 4th to July 14th, covering the national days of the USA and France.
Dr. Chen’s exhibitions met immediate and vast resounding: “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 said: “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”.
On May 12, 1986, a special issue of the New York Magazine is totally devoted to the Liberty Celebration. Inside the magazine Dr. Chen’s “Sunday Morning, Liberty!” in full color and in full page was presented, along with paintings on Liberty Lady by Robert Rauschenberg, Andy Warhol, and Roy Lichtenstein etc. On July 14, his honorable David L. Wolper, the conductor and General-Supervisor of the Centennial Celebration of the Statue of Liberty visited Lucia Gallery to see Dr. Chen and collected 5 pieces of artworks, including the most beautiful one “I Love Paris, I Love Liberty” together with 500 copies of Dr. Chen’s art book of Liberty Lady: “The Spirit of Liberty”. During the Festival, CNN reporters interviewed Dr. Chen twice at Lucia Gallery and edited with the extravagant Event which is broadcasted to the whole world.