Lot 388
  • 388

Georgette Chen

1,000,000 - 1,500,000 HKD
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  • Georgette Chen
  • Seaside
  • Oil on canvas
  • 60 by 80 cm.; 23 1/2 by 31 1/2 in.
  • Executed CIRCA 1960s.


Singapore, Victoria Memorial Hall, Singapore Art Society:16th Exhibition of Works by Local Artists, Singapore, April 3 -  April 9, 1985, Choy Weng Yang


The work is in good condition overall, as is the canvas, which is clear and sound. There is light wear and handling around the edges of the painting inherent to the framing process, but paint layers are healthy. Under ultraviolet light inspection reveals spots of restoration along the upper register (clouds), near the wooden floating poles, on the wooden body of the leftmost boat, scattered along the right margin and the bottom right corner (on the outer edge and legs of the stone bench and on the right end of the ledge). Framed.
"In response to your inquiry, we are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Sotheby's is merely a subjective, qualified opinion. Prospective buyers should also refer to any Important Notices regarding this sale, which are printed in the Sale Catalogue.

Catalogue Note

Georgette Chen is one of the most celebrated modern artists in Singapore. As the only woman among her contemporaries, Chen's focus on perspective and style have cemented her oeuvre a place among the classic works of the Nanyang movement. Deeply influenced by the Modern Art Movements of the West, she showed particular interest in the formal elements of the fin-de-siecle movement, also largely known as Post-Impressionism. She was awarded the Cultural Medallion in 1985, honoring her legacy as one of the pioneer Nanyang artist in Singapore.
The years between the forties and eighties is viewed as a seminal period of her career. During this period Georgette spent most of her time living between Malaysia and Singapore. It was during the time when she reached her artistic maturity – gaining influence among her contemporaries as well as developing eloquence in her composition, style and tones. Her painting denotes undertones of the Post-Impressionist and Fauves movement, which is evident in the artist’s use of light and choice of composition. “[Her] seascape [bears] a close resemblance to the style of the Fauvist painter, Marguet, evokes an immediate response through its glittering waves and sailing boats,”1 Liu Kang said, who was a friend and a contemporary of the artist.
Georgette always favored painting in the outdoors. Her observations of nature displays how deeply engrossed she is in her surroundings, and her profound understanding and relationship with nature. Executed in 1950s, Seaside is an extremely enchanting piece by Georgette Chen and perhaps is most representative of the artist’s seascape paintings. With a subdued atmospheric style, the technique of the medium is complex and highly refined. Capturing the morning light of Singapore’s East Cost, vivid tones are gestured by robust brush strokes, which beautifully compliment the glistening waters of the sea. She balances the composition with figures that dominate the bottom register of the painting against a scenic horizon of the ocean: of white, blue and turquoise tones. Observing each individual’s body language, Georgette is able to document the ordinary lives of the common people starting with their morning daily activities.
A synthesis of her earlier style, Seaside is an intimate and serene painting, showcasing the artist’s remarkable relationship with nature. Once again Georgette Chen’s work is “marked by a vigorous open-air naturalism… She never fails to give liveliness of touch and solidity of structure to the simplest motif.” 2

Liu Kang, Pioneer Artist of Singapore: Georgette Chen Retrospective 1985, Nanyang Museum Art Gallery, Singapore, 1965

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