As one of the most celebrated artists in Burmese art history, U San Win was the first painter to embrace Impressionism among the members of the early Rangoon School. With a gift for art since childhood, San Win studied first under Martin Ward, the president of the Burma Art Club, and was later granted government sponsorship to pursue higher education at Goldsmiths College in the United Kingdom and Columbia University in America. The artist eventually returned to Myanmar in his fifties, where he became the deputy minister of art education and was awarded the Wunna Kyaw Htin, the highest civil service honour in the country.
Shwedagon Pagoda and Gateway to Mandalay show key aspects of life in Burma – religion and its proud royal heritage by depicting an iconic temple and the Mandalay Palace. The present lots prominently feature San Win’s distinctive style of Burmese impressionism captured by subtle brushwork blur outlines and features. The artist’s delightful ability to show the reflection of the Shwedagon Pagoda in the lake’s water is evidence of his exquisite technique. Likewise the lively shadow play in the architectural forms of the Mandalay royal grounds, displays his admirable skill. San Win also employs his signature color palette of rusty reds and honeyed browns mixed with earthy tones of yellow and green. These colors contrast brilliantly against the blue skies and vibrant sunlight.