CHEN WEN HSI
B. China, 1906-1991
Inscribed and signed, with seal of the artist on lower right
Ink and colour on rice paper
65 x 43 cm
Provenance Private Collection, Kuala Lumpur
Published in Christie’s Hong Kong Fine 19th and 20th Century Chinese Paintings
(October 29, 1995) auction catalogue
RM 30,000 – RM 40,000
Chen was proficient in both traditional Chinese ink and Western oil painting, and experimented with a variety of styles ranging from Fauvism to Cubism. In Chen’s exhibition held in May 1956, Frank Sullivan noted his fascination for man-made things and clutter. The artist loved to experiment with the interplay of light and forms in chaotic subjects. His unique style which showed interest in angles but not Cubist; strays not far from reality and is obsessed with shapes, and yet not an abstract painter.
In this painting, despite the simplicity that comes with it, Chen Wen Hsi’s effortless skill makes this piece truly a exquisite one indeed. Chen Wen Hsi was born in 1906 in Baigong, Guangdong. He moved to Singapore and was based there until his death in 1991. Despite his uncle’s objection during the early years, Chen decided to pursue fine art at the Shanghai College of Art before transferring to the Xinhua College of Art in Shanghai where his mentor was Pan Tianshou. For his contributions to the fine arts in Singapore, he was awarded the Public Service Star in 1964. He also founded the Chun Yang Painting Society in Shantou.