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Famous Chinatown paintings recovered at auction

on Friday,February 11,2011 19:02

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For years, professionals in the art industry were baffled as to what happened to watercolors created by Chinese-American painter, Jake Lee. Now, the mystery has finally been solved by Sue Lee.

As the executive director of the San Francisco Chinese Historical Society of America, Lee received a tip via e-mail that informed her of an auction in which 11 of Jake Lee's paintings were going up for sale. The pieces were a part of his most notable collection, depicting Kan's Restaurant, according to The Bay Citizen.

"People didn't know where they were because the restaurant had changed hands, and the paintings were gone," Lee told the news source.

After quickly gathering the little money she had, Lee was able to purchase 7 of the 11 paintings up for auction. In honor of the works, she plans on opening an exhibit titled, "Finding Jake Lee: The Paintings at Kan's."

At the height of the Chinatown development in San Francisco, Lee painted photos of everyday life at Kan's Restaurant and the surrounding area. His contribution to Asian-American art history continues to persuade individuals to embark on careers in the field.

Approximately 60 percent of people in the art industry are self-employed, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

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