333
333

PROPERTY FROM AN IMPORTANT PRIVATE ASIAN COLLECTION

Liu Kang
LANDSCAPE 
Estimate
240,000480,000
LOT SOLD. 400,000 HKD
JUMP TO LOT
333

PROPERTY FROM AN IMPORTANT PRIVATE ASIAN COLLECTION

Liu Kang
LANDSCAPE 
Estimate
240,000480,000
LOT SOLD. 400,000 HKD
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

Modern and Contemporary Southeast Asian Art

|
Hong Kong

Liu Kang
1911-2004
LANDSCAPE 
Signed in Chinese and dated 1935
Oil on canvas laid on masonite board 
54.5 by 45 cm; 24 1/4  by 17 1/2  in. 
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Provenance

Acquired directly from the artist
Formerly in the collection of Madam Huang Shu Fen (黃淑芬)

Catalogue Note

A prominent figure in the Singaporean education sector, Madam Huang Shu Fen (黃淑芬) received numerous accolades from the late Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew (李光耀) and the inaugural Minister of Education, Ong Pang Boon (王邦文). She taught at the Huayi Secondary School (华义中学), formerly known as Hua Yi Government Chinese Middle School (华义政府华文中学), from 1961 and served as the Principal from 1968 to 1972. Founded by Chinese philanthropists and clan leaders, Hua Yi was one of the first government aided schools after Singapore’s independence. Madam Huang lead the school to become one of the premier Chinese schools at the time, serving for a total of 12 years and guiding generations of students.

Madam Huang also published a collection of essays in remembrance of her brother, the business man and art collector, Huang Man Shi (黄曼士) (1890 – 1963), also known as Huang Cong (黄琮) or Huang Mun Se.  Appointed a member of the Chinese Advisory Board in 1954, Huang Man Shi was one of the most prominent figures of the Chinese community in Singapore. He was also famously known as a close friend of Xu Beihong (1895-1953), who regarded Huang as his benefactor and often referred to him as his “second elder brother”. The book published by his sister includes accounts of Huang’s life written by close friends and features the paintings and artifacts Huang had collected throughout his life.

Following her retirement, Huang Shu Fen actively participated and engaged in East Asian art circles, travelling between Singapore and mainland China to personally visit the artists herself. Like her brother, she developed meaningful friendships with artists and supported their pursuits. Sotheby’s is honored to present a painting by Liu Kang, from Madam Huang’s personal collection – its contents amassed from her various sojourns across Asia. Originating from one of the early pioneers of modern Singaporean art, Liu Kang, the painting is an enigmatic synthesis of Western modernist vernacular and Eastern traditions.

Executed in 1935, this early work presents a captivating fusion of Liu’s French education and Chinese roots, foreshadowing the distinctive Nanyang flavor that would later characterize his oeuvre. The scene is intrinsically idyllic – several Chinese roofed buildings occupy the foreground while lush trees of emerald greens and autumnal red leaves stand against a bright blue sky. The incorporation of the classic Chinese architecture is a nostalgic recollection of the Fujian native’s home country, a rare divergence from the traditional Southeast Asian landscapes that populated his later works. Rendered with the bold fluidity of Liu’s dexterous brushwork, the Eastern setting is outlined in a thick, linear style reminiscent of Gauguin and Matisse. Intense, saturated colors dominate the landscape in broad and repetitive textures, creating a vivid harmony with the Eastern panoramas. An exquisite marriage of diametrically different aesthetic idioms, the work is evocative of Liu’s mastery over the traditions from opposite ends of the spectrum.

Modern and Contemporary Southeast Asian Art

|
Hong Kong