334
334
Georgette Chen
PORTRAIT OF DR. NALLA TAN
Estimate
200,000300,000
LOT SOLD. 437,500 HKD
JUMP TO LOT
334
Georgette Chen
PORTRAIT OF DR. NALLA TAN
Estimate
200,000300,000
LOT SOLD. 437,500 HKD
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

Modern and Contemporary Southeast Asian Art

|
Hong Kong

Georgette Chen
1907-1993
PORTRAIT OF DR. NALLA TAN
Signed and dated 66 
Pastel on paper
59.5 by 43 cm; 23 1/2  by 17 in.
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Provenance

Private Collection, Singapore

Literature

National Museum Art Gallery, Pioneer Artists of Singapore: Georgette Chen Retrospective 1985, Singapore, 1985, plate 139

Catalogue Note

Celebrated for her colossal contributions to Singapore’s art movement, Georgette Chen’s eye for artistry was nurtured by her multi-cultured childhood, as she travelled through China, France and New York. While teaching at the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts from 1954-1980, Chen visual language blossomed. Her still life works, scenes of everyday life and various landscapes symbolize the timeless accomplishments of an iconic individual.

As the only female artist of the Nanyang Art movement, Georgette Chen was just as influential is Dr. Nalla Tan, who is seated serenely as the subject of present work. A fervent purveyor of women’s rights in Singapore, Dr. Tan’s repertoire was endless: she was an advocate for sex and public health education, as well as a columnist, poet, teacher and therapist. The waves of change Dr. Tan made for women’s rights in Singapore were innumerable, and Chen sought to commemorate Dr. Tan’s legacy with this exquisite portrait.

A shawl, adorned with roses, drapes softly across Dr. Tan’s bust, which frames her delicate silhouette. Her side profile faces the viewer as she looks into the distance, and her gentle, warming gaze emanates throughout the entire frame. Using only shadowing and shading techniques to delineate the contours of her face, Chen carves out a figure of beauty and elegance, and captures a brief moment with one of Singapore’s largest beacons of progression. Lending from Western and Chinese modes of themes and expression, Chen demonstrates her skilled mastery of the “Nanyang style”, as she traces the waves of Dr. Tan’s hair with calligraphy like strokes. The incorporation of greys and whites in the lustrous sea of raven furthers Dr. Tan’s calming and sophisticated disposition, as Chen makes clear that this is not a woman of sheer vanity. Looking beyond the captivating aesthetics of Portrait of Dr Nalla Tan, Chen’s portrayal of Dr. Tan’s unadulterated grace and poise is especially affectionate, and this present lot marks an undeclared collaboration between two of Singapore’s most prominent women in history.

Modern and Contemporary Southeast Asian Art

|
Hong Kong