TEW NAI TONG
B. Selangor, 1936-2013
Happy Living, 2002
Signed “NAI TONG” on lower right
Artist, title, date and dimensions inscribed on the reverse
Oil on canvas
46 x 46 cm
Private Collection, Selangor
RM 5,000 – RM 8,000
The late Tew Nai Tong was born in 1936 in Klang, started his early education at the Peng Hwa Chinese School at the age of 7 years old. At 18, he decided that he wanted to pursue his dream to become a proper artist. With his mind set on painting as a means of living, he moved to Singapore and enrolled at the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts (NAFA) and spent two years completing his studies. Focusing on skills such as sketching, watercolours and landscape painting during his early years at NAFA, he, along with his contemporaries, became part of the watercolours movement in Malaysia, promoting the art style to the masses.
Just like many NAFA graduates before him, Tew Nai Tong followed in their foots steps by furthering his studies in Paris. He spent the next two years studying oil and figurative painting at the Ecole Nationale Superieure Des Beaux-Arts de Paris. From 1967 to 1968, he immersed himself in the kaleidoscope of arts and culture in France and across Europe, visiting museums and art galleries in search of inspiration.
His time in Paris instilled a newfound creative stance, which he fully made used of as he went through an experimental phase on forms, compositions and colours, which shaped his unique art style: an interesting and beautiful combination of Oriental charm and Parisian elegance injected into dreamy watercolour on canvas, playful collages within oil paintings to geometrical abstracts depicting rural living, local culture and landscapes.
In 2009, Nai Tong received the prestigious Grand Prize Asia Art Award in Seoul, South Korea in recognition for his contributions to the Malaysian art scene as well as exposing the rich cultural heritage and the Fine Arts of Malaysia to the international community. He is considered by some to be one of the top 10 artists in Malaysia and his works have been auctioned at Christies and Sotheby’s as well as through Malaysia’s own KLAS Art Auction. KL Lifestyle Art Space also had the pleasure of hosting, A Golden Era, an exhibition featuring Tew Nai Tong’s works in January 2012.