View full screen - View 1 of Lot 20. Georgette Chen 張荔英 | Boats and shophouses 小船和店屋 .
20

Georgette Chen

Georgette Chen 張荔英 | Boats and shophouses 小船和店屋

Property of a Lady | 女士私人收藏

Georgette Chen

Georgette Chen

Georgette Chen 張荔英 | Boats and shophouses 小船和店屋

Georgette Chen 張荔英 | Boats and shophouses 小船和店屋

Property of a Lady

Georgette Chen

1907 - 1993

Boats and shophouses


oil on canvas

signed Chen (lower right)

painted circa 1963-65

64.5 by 81 cm;25 ½ by 31 ¾ in.


------------------------------------


女士私人收藏

張荔英

1907 - 1993

小船和店屋


油畫畫布

款識

CHEN(右下)

約一九六三至一九六五年作

64.5 x 81 cm; 25 ½ x 31 ¾ in.

For further information on the condition of this lot please contact michelle.yaw@sothebys.com

Private Collection, Singapore 


----------------------------


新加坡私人收藏

Singapore, National Museum Art Gallery, Pioneer Artist of Singapore: Georgette Chen Retrospective 1985, Singapore, 10 - 24 November 1985, illustrated in the catalogue and titled Bumboats, plate 105


----------------------------


新加坡,新加坡國家博物院,〈新加坡先驅藝術家:陳荔英1985年回顧展〉一九八五年,十一月十日至二十四日,展覽圖錄並題款《Bumboats》,圖版105

Sotheby’s is honored to present Georgette Chen’s Boats and Shophouses upon Sotheby’s auctions return to Singapore after 15 years. A seminal masterpiece by one of the most exceptional figures in Asian art, the present lot is one of the strongest works by the artist to come to market and the first of Singapore shophouse, waterfront scene to be presented at auction. Sprawling with vibrant color, vivacity of life, Boats and Shophouses is a celebration of Singapore’s history as a trading port and convergence of cultures.  This exceptionally rare, fresh to market work, was first purchased directly from the artist in the 1990s. A superb exemplar of Georgette Chen’s mature style developed during her time residing in Singapore, the painting is expansive in scale, yet intimate in detail. Encountering any work by Chen is fascinating as much as it is a profound and rare, as most of her works are in museum collections.


A highly accomplished painter with tremendous ability, Chen was an independent female who carved a unique identity amidst the male-dominated arena of 20th century art. She received her art education at prestigious schools in Paris, New York and Shanghai; and in the art realm of those same countries gained exposure and exhibited her works. Chen moved to Southeast Asia in her late 40s, settling in Singapore in 1953 where she taught at the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts (NAFA) for over 20 years until her retirement in 1980. Her enduring legacy is also seen in the recent retrospective at the National Gallery Singapore; titled Georgette Chen: At Home in the World with works from various institutional and private collections.


While frequently identified as the only female pioneering artist of the 'Nanyang School', Chen is also indisputably a Sino-Parisian artist, having studied, lived and exhibited in France. The daughter of a businessman who dealt in Asian art and antiques, Chen travelled throughout China, Paris and New York during the earlier years of her life. Her life spanned four wars – two Chinese Revolutions of 1911 and 1949, World War I and World War II, and led her to reside in different countries. This cosmopolitan perspective fueled her practice, leading her to develop a style that blended Eastern and Western approaches. Her oeuvre represents only meaningful reflections of her eventful life, but also the ambitions of a woman artist determined to create new forms and perspectives in her work.


In 1930, Chen married her first husband, Eugene Chen Youren, the Chinese Foreign Minister at the time, linking her to Chinese history at a pivotal moment. Within that same year, Chen’s works were accepted for exhibition at the Salon d'Automne in Paris. She would continue to participate in important exhibitions in Paris, including the Paris World Fair, and the Women Painters Exhibition in 1973. In the 1940s, when Chen and her husband resided mostly in Shanghai, Chen also developed an audience in China, presenting her works in two solo exhibitions.


Boats and Shophouses represents an iconic and nostalgic Singaporean scene, frozen in a moment of modernity and change. Depicting the colorful shophouses and sampans that lined Singapore’s river, the work brims with energy and life. The ‘inverted C’ composition of the river scene gives a great sense of depth and dynamism, to a highly populated canvas. The densely packed shophouses and small boats docked along the river, line both sides of the river and are painted with immaculate detail. Chen plays with scale and perspective. In the far distance, a green bridge marks the horizon line, as tiny human figures walk quietly across, while in the foreground, a boat man appears to crawl out from under the roof of his boat.


Chen employs short, staccato brush strokes of varying shades of pastel blue, greys, purples and pinks to create a sense of rhythm on the water’s surface. This unique, playful style, reminiscent of the post-impressionist Pointillist technique, was developed during the latter stage of Chen’s career and is employed in significant works such as Lotus Symphony, currently in the collection of the Long Museum, Shanghai.  


闊別十五年,蘇富比再度在新加坡舉辦拍賣會,並欣呈張荔英的風景畫《小船和店屋》。張氏是成就卓越的亞洲藝壇大師,本作精緻細膩,是拍場上第一幅以新加坡店屋和泊岸小船為素材的張氏作品。《小船和店屋》用色繽紛生動,好比五光十色、欣欣向榮的人間百態,訴說著新加坡作為貿易港和文化大熔爐的豐富歷史。本作在1990年由藝術家直接售予一位收藏家,此後未曾見諸拍場,珍貴難得。作品尺幅可觀,但細節的刻畫依然細緻入微,張氏當時已定居新加坡,此畫足以反映其已臻成熟的藝術風格。張氏的作品內涵深刻,而且大部分已進入博物館收藏,偶見此般佳作,令人感嘆其珍貴之餘,更值得細細品味箇中的巧妙之處。


張氏擁有非凡的繪畫造詣,她以女兒之身,在二十世紀以男性主導的藝壇中開闢出一片立足之地,成為為數不多的獨立女性藝術家之一。她曾在巴黎、紐約和上海等地接受美術訓練,而且憑借實力在法、美、中三國舉辦展覽,獲得大眾關注。她在四十多歲時移居東南亞,並於1953年定居新加坡,隨後在南洋藝術學院(NAFA)任教超過二十年,直到1980年才退休。近年,新加坡國家美術館為張氏舉辦回顧展,展覽名為「此心安處——張荔英藝術展」,展出作品來自各大藝術機構及私人收藏。


張氏一直被譽為是南洋畫派唯一的女性藝術先驅,但由於她曾在法國求學、生活及辦展,因此她也是一位名副其實在巴黎闖蕩過的華裔藝術家。1930年,張氏與第一任丈夫陳友仁共諧連理,陳友仁乃時任外交部長,兩人的婚姻把張荔英的名字永遠寫在了中國歷史上波雲詭譎的一頁。


《小船和店屋》描繪了極具新加坡特色的河畔風光,在世事不斷變遷、現代化無可阻擋的潮流下,這彎寧靜彷彿凝固在時光的夾縫裡,讓人不禁追憶舊事,心馳神往。五顏六色的店屋一字排開,各式各樣的舢舨停泊在河邊,整個畫面都洋溢著悠閒愜意的生活氣息。在稠密的房舍和船隻之間,河水蜿蜒流過,為構圖帶來了不可思議的深度和張力。畫家用縝密的筆觸,一筆一畫地勾勒出河流兩岸密密麻麻的店屋和小船。她借助比例和透視,在遠處用一座綠色的拱橋標出地平線,小小的行人從橋上走過;前方的舢舨上,一名艇家正從船中鑽出來。


張氏透過短促的筆觸,以粉嫩柔和的藍色、灰色、紫色和粉紅色,在水面上串連出躍動的韻律。這種活潑俏皮的風格是張氏在創作生涯後期採用的技巧,與後印象點畫派有異曲同工之妙,該技巧還見於現藏上海龍美術館的《蓮花頌》等重要作品。