Lee Man Fong
- Lee Man Fong
- signed and stamped with the seal of the artist
- oil on Masonite board
The artist was also a revered Naturalist, and the present painting aptly titled Goldfish is a classic piece from his body of works. Shown in the painting are nine goldfish, a deliberate play from the artist on his Chinese heritage and personal mythologies. Believed to be auspicious in numerology, the pronunciation of the number nine in Chinese shares similar sounds with the character for “everlasting”. Coupled together with the lucky presence of the goldfishes, the self-titled piece epitomizes the artist’s cultural paradigms further enhanced by his artistic skills as a painter.
The attention to colors and composition instills a sense of rhythm and vitality to the animals’ interactions with one another. The gold and orange shapes shine brightly amidst the muted tones of the seaweed and dirt. The artist has also has them swimming in groups of three, a visual ploy that further creates an innate energy within the piece that enhances their delicate and fleeting natures. Goldfish perfectly exemplifies Lee Man Fong’s classical Chinese upbringing with his scientific appreciation for the natural landscape.
As an artist who incorporated much of his heritage into the artworks, the present painting is a captivating look into a chapter of Indonesian art history as seen through the eyes of a Chinese artist. It can be said that the works centred on flora and fauna stand out amongst his oeuvre for their personal comprehension of the relationships between humans and Mother Nature.