A joint exhibition featuring mainly Chinese paintings from Singapore Teochew art collectors and works by top Teochew artists here opened at the Chui Huay Lim Club on Thursday.
The show of 40 Chinese paintings, dating between 1840 and 1980 and from six collectors, and 60 other works in Chinese ink, watercolour and oil, as well as Chinese calligraphy, from 26 local Teochew artists - both past and present - is the first of its kind here.
It is presented by the Singapore Teochew Poit Ip Huay Kuan in conjunction with its 85th anniversary celebrations. Other highlights include an 11-day Teochew cultural festival now on at the Ngee Ann City Civic Plaza, and the Eighth International Teochew Youth Conference which the clan association is hosting at Resorts World Sentosa for 1,500 young people from all over the world.
Collector Chan Kok Hua, 58, and art curator for the show, said: "The Teochews in Singapore love art and they have a long history of art collecting and were pioneers in art education, setting up the first art school here in 1922. Many Singapore artists, particularly the first and second-generation painters, are also Teochews."
Acknowledging the contributions of Teochews in his speech at the show's opening, Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Lawrence Wong singled out several top Teochew artists here whose works are among those exhibited.
They include Chinese ink painters Chen Wen Hsi, Tan Kian Por and Lee Hock Moh, and oil painters Choo Keng Kwang and Chua Mia Tee.
But Mr Chan, a council member of Teochew Poit Ip Huay Kuan, whose art collections are included in the exhibition, said the show's highlight is the late Chinese master Xu Beihong's huge 206cm by 103cm Chinese ink and colour painting titled Poem Of Six Dynasties.
It is from the Xiu Hai Lou Collection, owned by the estate of the late collector Yeo Khee Lim.
"The painting was done in Singapore in 1939 when Xu was living in Singapore and it remains the most valuable piece of work the artist did outside China," added Mr Chan.
In addition, most contemporary Chinese masters' Chinese ink works from over the past century are also represented in the collectors' show.
They include the works of Ren Bonian, Qi Baishi, Huang Binhong, Zhang Daqian, Li Keran, Lin Fengmian, Zhu Qizhan, Lu Yanshao, Cheng Shifa and Wu Guanzhong.
On the Singapore Teochew artists' show, Mr Chan said the 26 artists' 60 works represent those of the pioneers, second-generation painters and the younger ones in their 50s.
The pioneers include the late Chinese ink painter Fan Chang Tien and Chen Chong Swee, while the second generation include oil painters Lee Boon Wang and Lim Kay Hiong, watercolourist Low Puay Hua and calligraphers Tan Siah Kwee and Chang Kwang Wee. Modern Chinese painter Henri Chen is the youngest at 54.
Mr Chan said by the show's opening on Thursday, more than 80 per cent of the Singapore Teochew artists' works were already sold. Many were bought by overseas collectors who came from the United States, China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Indonesia and Malaysia.
Several of the 26 Singapore Teochew artists taking part in the show said the exhibition has not only showcased the best of their works in Singapore but also introduced them to collectors overseas.
Chinese ink painter Tan Kian Por, 65, and a Cultural Medallion recipient whose four paintings priced between $16,000 and $18,000 were all sold before the show's opening, said: "Putting the Teochew collectors' paintings and the artists' works together raised the exhibition to another level. It helped to attract collectors from overseas to buy our works too."
A coffee-table book on the exhibition with essays on the history of art collecting by the Teochews and biographies of all the 26 Teochew artists taking part in the show is available at $80 at the exhibition.
COLLECTION OF SINGAPORE TEOCHEW COLLECTORS & WORKS OF TEOCHEW ARTISTS
Where: Chui Huay Lim Club, Level 4, 190, Keng Lee Road
When: Till Wednesday, daily between 11am and 6pm
This article was first published on Sept 27, 2014.
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