Lot 50 | 29 May 2022




LOT 50


B. China, 1913 – 1988

Bali Life

Watercolour on paper

98 x 178 cm

Private Collection, Singapore

RM 70,000 – RM 120,000

Chinese painter Lee Man Fong trained in China and in Western Europe, and lived much of his life in Indonesia, developing a particular style that blends together a variety of sources for his quiet yet passionate vision.

Lee was born in 1913 in Guangzhuo, China, to a family of ten children. After his father’s death, Lee began working to help support his family, producing images for advertisements. The family moved to Singapore and eventually settled in Jakarta in 1930, where Lee secured a job at Kolff, a Dutch printing company. He became the first non-Dutch artist to be invited to provide works for an exhibition organized by the Dutch East Indies Association. Despite his growing artistic success, he was arrested by the Japanese military government in 1942 for his participation in the revolutionary group Fu Xing She; his jailer, Takahashi Masao, was an admirer of his work and as such, secured his early release within months. As his artistic profile continued to rise, he was awarded a Malino scholarship to study in the Netherlands for three years based on the recommendation of the Dutch Viceroy Hubertus van Mook, for whom Lee had produced a portrait. He exhibited consistently and sold successfully in the Hague and at the Salon in Paris.