Lot 396
  • 396

Cheong Soo Pieng

800,000 - 1,200,000 HKD
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  • Cheong Soo Pieng
  • Two Sisters
  • Signed and dated 1980; signed and dated 1980 on the reverse
  • Oil on canvas
  • 106.5 by 68.5 cm.; 42 by 27 in.


Private Collection, Singapore


Singapore, Galleries 1 & 2, NAFA Campus 1, Singapore, Soo Pieng, Singapore, 2 February - 3 March 2013, The Institute of Southeast Asian Arts (ISEAA) at Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts (NAFA)


Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts, Soo Pieng, Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts, Singapore, 2013, P. 34

T. K. Sabapathy, National Museum of Singapore, Cheong Soo Pieng: 1917 - 1983, Singapore, 1991, P. 16


The work is in good condition overall, as is the canvas, which is clear and sound. Indication of light wear and handling is evident around the edges of the painting inherent to the framing process, but the paint layers are well-preserved. Under ultraviolet light examination reveals no evidence of restoration. 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

“In Malaya and Bali, the Nanyang artists experienced a whole new landscape, one that was vastly different from China. The sundrenched view of these exotic landscapes inspired them to create a new idiom of artistic representation for what they saw around them. In Cheong Soo Pieng’s choice of composition and themes, he continued to present his visual experiences in bold forms and colours. The Bali project…proved to be formative in shaping their artistic identities.”

Seng Yu Jin and Grace Ting, Cheong Soo Pieng: Visions of Southeast Asia, The National Art Gallery, Singapore, 2010, P. 93

Cheong Soo Pieng’s oeuvre is widely regarded as having a transformative impact upon modern art in Singapore. Associated with the pioneer artists of the Nanyang art movement, Cheong Soo Pieng is often viewed as being the leader of the group, for he deviated from creative norms to establish his own artistic voice. He actively embraced, and experimented with numerous artistic genres and mediums, and his collection of works highlight the themes and aesthetics that came to inspire future generations of artists in the country.

His artwork may be viewed as a visual representation of the history of Singaporean modern art, for the artist flirted with abstract expressionism, realism, cubism, and traditional landscape painting, throughout his career. As a champion of the Nanyang creative style, Cheong Soo Pieng travelled extensively around Southeast Asia to discover, and appropriate cultural aesthetics and traditions that would find new meanings within the context of his paintings.

Two Sisters shows the artist's maturity and confidence in painting as a medium. It is the subject matter of the work that Cheong Soo Pieng favoured, and frequently returned too within his oeuvre. The artist first visited Bali in 1952, and was inspired by the island’s rich culture, tropical landscape, and bright colours, that were very different from his Chinese heritage. He travelled to the island frequently, and it may be seen as a defining motif in the artist’s paintings.

The present work is reminiscent of Indonesian aesthetics, and local handicrafts, notably in the elongated figures of the women, and the rich patterns found in their clothes, as well as in the textile they are weaving. The artist has applied similar detail to the background, notably with the brushstrokes that create a textured quality to the overall artwork. An intimate depiction of family bonds, Cheong Soo Pieng has created a painting that pays homage to a country that had a large influence upon his career, while commenting on the importance of human connections.