Lot 37 | Auction XIV

LOT 37

(B. China, 1932)

Untitled, 1981

Signed and dated “LaiTong 81” on lower right
Signed and dated on verso
Oil on canvas
133 x 128 cm

Private Collection, Kuala Lumpur
Formerly in the Private Collection of Datuk Syed Ahmad Jamal

SOLD – RM 61,600

Cheong LaiTong was the artist responsible for the masterpiece that is the mural outside the National Museum of Kuala Lumpur, another at the Sultan of Selangor’s Palace and another at the Hong Kong and Shanghai Bank in Kuala Lumpur. “The murals at the National Museum were designed in the post-Merdeka years and they take on a deeper significance as we celebrate 50 years of independence.”

He is considered a living national treasure, with his artistic contributions to the country spanning for over six decades. His career as an artist began during Malaysia’s independence and his works are an undeniable asset to the country indeed.

Cheong LaiTong once said that the paintings will tell an artist what colour to put, and as you keep painting, it will lead you. Most abstract artist would agree with him, that the paintings will direct an artist. If it doesn’t, it merely means one is not mature enough as an artist.

“I like to be inside a painting. When you walk into a painting, you have the feeling of being with the painting, and vibrating with the painting.”

Evidently, this piece creates such a painting – whose colours move and flow, in constant motion as if persuading the viewer to be one with it. The viewer will lose themselves in this piece, a painting of Nature herself, as they watch every movement and discover more mysteries.

Cheong LaiTong was born in Guangzhou and moved to Malaya when he was a child. He is known for his use of colours to portray a certain setting or to depict nature (hills, mountains, valleys and rivers), all of which are landscapes inspired by his travels. He was a former Rothmans International Regional Creative Direction, and became part of the Malaysian Art History in 1962 when he won the commission for the 115-foot mural of the Malaysian culture and life (presently at the National Museum Kuala Lumpur).