337
337
Cheong Soo Pieng
TO THE MARKET
Estimate
500,000700,000
LOT SOLD. 600,000 HKD
JUMP TO LOT
337
Cheong Soo Pieng
TO THE MARKET
Estimate
500,000700,000
LOT SOLD. 600,000 HKD
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

Modern and Contemporary Southeast Asian Art

|
Hong Kong

Cheong Soo Pieng
1917-1983
TO THE MARKET
Signed in Chinese and dated 1980; signed in English and dated 1980 on the reverse
Oil on canvas
74 by 58.5 cm; 29 1/4  by 23 in.
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Catalogue Note

Bearing all the key characteristics of Soo Pieng’s late signature style, To The Market is a seminal work by the celebrated Singaporean artist that employs many of the quintessential motifs of the artist’s oeuvre. The picture of two male figures initially manifested as a sketch in 1952 titled To the Market, and Soo Pieng completed the painting with the same composition years later, in 1980, following his second trip to Bali. The men bear placid, stylized facial features and are rendered with slender limbs. In many ways they epitomize quotidian kampong life, as they go about their daily routes, wearing conical straw hats and simple sarongs around their hips. While many of Soo Pieng’s late works illustrate seated women engaged in an activity, To The Market a prime example of the artist’s studies of the Southeast Asian region as he captures the quiet dignity of local folk.

Shaded by the branches of tropical trees, two men cross paths on their way to or from the market. The frontal figure carries large bunches of coconuts, tied together and swung over his shoulder, while the figure behind him balances a long stick with a hanging birdcage at its end. A truly balance composition of movement and stillness, To The Market carries the hallmarks of Soo Pieng’s mature figurative style as the pair’s streamlined bodies and almond-lidded eyes resemble wayang puppets. The artist sought to lend his subjects a dignified presence, which is most evident in the titular man whose calm demeanor betrays the laborious task of carrying heavy coconuts across town.

While Soo Pieng’s overall palette is quintessentially Southeast Asian – it’s muted, but warm overtone suggesting the thick and heated atmosphere of the tropics – it is the pop of orange at the belt of the man facing the viewer that brightens the scene.  Almost florescent and iridescent, the orange further highlights the detailing in the man’s sarong – created by scrapping lines and patterns out of still-wet paint.

Modern and Contemporary Southeast Asian Art

|
Hong Kong