Reuben Tam

tamReuben Tam was born in Kapa’a, Kauai, a Hawaiian island, in 1916. He received his early training at the University of Hawaii before travelling to New York in 1941. Tam divided his time between painting, writing, and teaching. In the summer he would travel to the island of Monhegan in Maine. He returned to the island of Kauai for the last decade of his life. His work is featured in over forty major museum collections, and he received many fellowships and awards throughout his career. His work references the rugged landscapes and terrains from both Kauai and Monhegan. Tam was interested in the way in which environmental forces shape the earth. Although he created his paintings in his studio, Tam spent countless hours outside sketching, contemplating, and writing. His work becomes progressively more abstract, focusing not on a realistic memory of a landscape, but on his impressions and emotional reactions to his environment. Tam created his final series, Archipelago, in Kauai. He died in 1991 in Kapa’a, Hawaii at the age of 74.