Win Ng

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Win Ng
Born(1936-04-13)April 13, 1936
DiedSeptember 6, 1991(1991-09-06) (aged 55)
San Francisco, US
Cause of deathAIDS complications
Other namesWinfred Ng
EducationSan Francisco State University
City College of San Francisco,
Mills College
Alma materBFA San Francisco Art Institute
OccupationCeramicist, industrial designer, illustrator, sculptor, metal worker, painter
Known forCo-founder of Taylor & Ng

Win "Winfred" Ng (April 13, 1936 – September 6, 1991)[1] was a Chinese American artist, entrepreneur and decorative designer. Ng was known for working as a ceramist, sculptor, metal worker, industrial designer, painter and illustrator, but best known as the co-founder of the groundbreaking San Francisco-based department store Taylor & Ng and his commercial ceramics work under the same name.

His artwork is in the collections of the Smithsonian, the National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo, Victoria & Albert Museum, Museum of Contemporary Crafts, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Museum of Art and Design (MAD) and the De Young Museum.[1][2]

Early life[edit]

Ng was born in Chinatown, San Francisco to Chinese immigrants, Fook On Ng and Kow Yuan Ng.[3][4] He studied at Saint Mary's Academy and the City College of San Francisco and San Francisco State University. After serving in the United States Army he studied at the San Francisco Art Institute receiving a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in 1959. He began the Masters of Fine Arts program at Mills College in 1960 but did not complete the program.[5]

His early career as a ceramicist focused on abstract work influenced by Peter Voulkos and resulted in a one-man show in 1958 at the Michow Gallery in New York City. From 1958 to 1965, Ng worked as a gallery artist, producing abstract ceramics sculptures.[6] By the 1970s Ng had seven one-man shows to his credit in Paris, New York, Portland, Oregon and San Francisco.[7]

Taylor & Ng[edit]

Ng met artist Spaulding Taylor and shifted his focus toward utilitarian work. In 1965 the two founded Environmental Ceramics (the precursor to Taylor & Ng) and moved into creating handmade artware and homewares.[8]

Taylor & Ng was founded during 1965 and, with the addition of Win Ng's brother, Norman Ng, as president, grew from a small ceramics shop on Howard Street (in San Francisco) into a major producer and retailer of housewares and owning a multi-level emporium shop at Embarcadero Center.[6] There were also stores at other Bay Area locations as well a Taylor & Ng shop inside Macy’s in New York.[6] These products sold heavily through Macy's and other major department stores and housewares retailers throughout the US during the late 1970s and 1980s.[6]

Win Ng's whimsical designs and animal drawings became a thematic focal point for many extremely popular Taylor & Ng products, from coffee mugs to kitchen aprons, pot holders, and dishtowels. Ng created pottery, book designs and linens for over 20 years.

Through their own San Francisco department store and wholesale business, Taylor & Ng not only created a signature style still in demand by collectors, but helped to popularize Asian culture and cuisine. The Taylor & Ng company is credited with bringing the Chinese wok to the US and making it a common kitchen utensil.[citation needed] In the late 1970s, they expanded their line to include a wide range of kitchen products, including a clever wood-and-metal-hook pot rack called the "Track Rack" that is still sold today. In 1977, Taylor & Ng introduced one of the first knock-down furniture products, the award-winning "Chair-In-A-Box," designed by Don Vandervort (who later went on to found The Taylor & Ng department store closed in 1985 so that the business could focus on its wholesale activities.[5]


Ng created illustrations for a number of books by Yerba Buena Press throughout the 1970s. These included collaborations with authors Violet and Charles Schafer.[9] Ng also illustrated publications by Taylor & Ng.

  • Dim Sum: The Delicious Secrets of Home-Cooked Chinese Tea Lunch by Rhoda Yee. San Francisco: Taylor & Ng, 1977.
  • Coffee: A Connoisseur's View of Coffee by Charles and Violet Schafer, illustrated by Win Ng. Yerba Buena Press, 1976.
  • Ricecraft: A Gathering of Rice Cookery, Culture & Customs by Margaret Gin, illustrated by Win Ng. Yerba Buena Press, 1975.
  • Teacraft: A Treasury of Romance, Rituals & Recipes by Charles and Violet Schafer, illustrated by Win Ng. Yerba Buena Press, 1975
  • Eggcraft: A Compendium of Folklore, Fancies & Foods by Violet Schafer, illustrated by Win Ng. Yerba Buena Press, 1973
  • PlantCraft: A Growing Compendium of Sound Indoor Gardening with Sound by Janet Cox, illustrated by Win Ng. Yerba Buena Press, 1973
  • Wokcraft: A Stirring Compendium of Chinese Cookery by Charles and Violet Schafer, illustrated by Win Ng. Yerba Buena Press, 1972
  • Herbcraft: A Compendium of Myths, Romance and Commonsense by Violet Schafer. Yerba Buena Press, 1971

Late life[edit]

Ng was openly gay and artist and co-founder Spaulding Taylor had been his life partner.[4][10]

From 1981-1991, Win Ng would leave the retail design world to focus on his gallery work.[6]

Ng died on September 6, 1991 from AIDS related complications. He was 55.[11]

Ng's was represented posthumously by the Braunstein/Quay Gallery in San Francisco, until the gallery closed in 2011.


Ng's 1968 colorful, ceramic tile mural illustrating science is located at the Maxine Hall Health Center in the Western Addition neighborhood of San Francisco.[12] This mural was produced by the San Francisco Art Commission.[12]

A 1970s mural, 100 by 16 foot by Ng graces the concourse level of the Orinda BART station in Contra Costa County, California.[13]

In April 2005 the Chinese Historical Society of America in collaboration with the Queer Cultural Center held a retrospective of Ng's work under the title of "The Art of Win Ng" as part of the National Queer Arts Festival 2005.[14]


  1. ^ a b "Ng". The Marks Project. The Marks Project, Inc. Retrieved 2016-12-28.
  2. ^ "Win Ng". Museum of Arts and Design, Collection Database. Retrieved 2016-12-28.
  3. ^ Wokcraft by Charles and Violet Schafer. San Francisco: Yerba Buena Press, 1972. page iii.
  4. ^ a b "Collection: Win Ng". The Enamel Arts Foundation. Retrieved 2016-12-28.
  5. ^ a b "Win Ng". Retrieved 2016-12-28.
  6. ^ a b c d e "Win Ng". Rehistoricizing The Time Around Abstract Expressionism. Retrieved 2016-12-28. Taylor & Ng grew from a small ceramics shop on Howard Street, to a mega, multi-level emporium at Embarcadero Center.
  7. ^ Herbcraft by Violet Schafer. San Francisco: Yerba Buena Press, 1971. page 88.
  8. ^ Lynn, Martha Drexler (2015). American Studio Ceramics: Innovation and Identity, 1940 to 1979. Yale University Press. ISBN 0300212739 – via Google Books.
  9. ^ "The charming illustrations of Win Ng". Mr. Peacock. 2008-11-18. Retrieved 2016-12-28.
  10. ^ Hallmark, Kara Kelley (2007). Encyclopedia of Asian American Artists. Greenwood Publishing Group. pp. 147–9. ISBN 0-313-33451-X.
  11. ^ San Francisco Chronicle, June 10, 1991
  12. ^ a b "Win Ng". Public Art and Architecture from Around the World. 2013-09-09. Retrieved 2016-12-28.
  13. ^ Jones, Carolyn (December 13, 2002). "Putting the art in BART / Mosaics, murals and steel cows brighten up stations from SFO to Orinda". The San Francisco Chronicle.
  14. ^ "The Art of Win Ng: A Retrospective". Queer Cultural Center. 2005.

External links[edit]