Sotheby's is previewing in Singapore some of the Southeast Asian masters that will be up for sales in October in Hong Kong. Amongst the paintings is a stunning Lee Man Fong work.
In April 2010, Sotheby’s Hong Kong presented Lee Man Fong’s Bali Life which achieved
an impressive $3.2 million world record for any Southeast Asian painting at auction. This season, and
Longevity is up for grab. Executed in 1951, this epic painting (86 x 260 cm) is one of the artist's largest and had been in private hands since its completion in 1951.
The masterpiece is a perfect example of Lee Man Fong’s work that reaffirms his contribution and influence as a pioneer Southeast Asian artist who created a synthesis of Eastern and Western art and attained a technical excellence rarely surpassed since. The serene depiction of people of different generations feasting and dancing is brought alive by Lee’s striking brushstrokes, exhibiting immense technical skill which emulates the fluidity of Chinese ink, but using oil. The painting celebrates peace, prosperity, abundance and good health, expressed through the Chinese calligraphy used by the artist in addition to the auspicious symbols such as the pumpkin – a symbol of prosperity, abundance, good luck spanning generations – and the Qi Lin, a symbol of good omen, protection, prosperity, success and longevity.
The particular composition of Affandi's Self Portrait, Eating Watermelon, executed in 1976, stands apart from most pieces in Affandi’s signature Self Portrait series in that it captures the artist biting into a big slice of juicy watermelon that covers the lower part of his face, thus giving it an element of candidness and
immediacy. His method of applying paint onto the canvas by squeezing it directly out of the tube is passionate and distinctive. The vibrant, swirling, seemingly moving impastos of this work echo the vivacity and gusto with which Affandi consumes the luscious ripe watermelon.
Ginza is another colorful piece by the Indonesian master. Affandi was the only Indonesian artist up to the mid-
20th century to travel so extensively around the world. Executed in 1970, this painting records the artist’s journey to Ginza, the most vibrant district in Tokyo, a place which enabled him to translate the energy and vitality of the urban monuments and lights celebrating the triumph of man.
Others highlights of the exhibition include:
|Chen Wen Hsi (1906-1992)||Custard Apples|
|Le Pho (1907–2001)||Mother and Child|
|Liu Kang (1911-2004)||Performance|
|Cheong Soo Pieng||(1917-1983)||Village Scene|
|Georgette Chen (1907-1993)||Landscape|
The Singapore Preview is on until Sunday at the Regent Hotel in Singapore