Nine works that set artist records at Christie's Singapore art sale

Archipelego (199) by Chua Ek Kay.
Archipelego (199) by Chua Ek Kay.PHOTO: CHRISTIE'S

1. Balinese Dance (1953)

By Cheong Soo Pieng, oil on canvas

Sold for HK$7.72 million (S$1.406 million)


Balinese Dance (1953) by Cheong Soo Pieng. PHOTO: CHRISTIE'S

This painting by Cheong, born in 1917, is one of his largest works on canvas made in the early 1950s. It was painted after his field trip to Bali in 1952 with fellow Singapore artists such as Liu Kang and Chen Chong Swee. The trip marked a turning point for art in Singapore and South-east Asia, catalysing the birth of the region's Nanyang style of art marrying Western painting techniques with Asian sensibilities and subject matter.

His previous auction record was HK$5.92 million (S$1.08 million) for Making Up, set at a Christie's sale last year.

2. Archipelago 1, 2 & 3 (1999)

By Chua Ek Kay, ink and colour on rice paper

Sold for HK$875,000 (S$159,387)


Archipelago 2 (1999) by Chua Ek Kay. PHOTO: CHRISTIE'S


Archipelago 3 (1999) by Chua Ek Kay.  PHOTO: CHRISTIE'S

Born in Guangdong, China, in 1947, Chua moved to Singapore at the age of six and studied under Chinese ink master Fan Chang Tien. He later developed a distinct style that blends traditional Chinese ink expressions with Western practices and forms of representation. These three paintings, originally created as independent works in Chua's Archipelago series of abstract landscapes, were brought together and sold as a unit by auction house Christie's to emphasise the panoramic quality of Chua's Archipelago works.

His previous auction record was HK$400,000 (S$73,000) for The Season Of Seagulls, set at a Christie's sale in May.

3. By The River (1954)

By Chia Yu Chian, oil on canvas laid on board

Sold for HK$687,500 (S$125,232)


By The River (1954) by Chia Yu Chian. PHOTO: CHRISTIE'S

Born in Malaysia in 1936, Chia spent his formative years in Singapore. He studied at the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts where he was taught by pioneer Singapore artists Cheong Soo Pieng and Chen Wen Hsi before honing his skills at the Ecole Nationale des Beaux Arts de Paris on a scholarship from the French government.

His previous auction record was HK$200,000 (S$36,431) for the work Penang, set at a Christie's sale in May.

4. At The Market (1967)

By Tay Bak Koi, oil on canvas

Sold for HK$525,000 (S$95,632)


At The Market (1967) by Tay Bak Koi. PHOTO: CHRISTIE'S

Tay, born in 1939, trained at the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts in the late 1950s and was a student of Cheong Soo Pieng. While an art student, he also sold crabs at a market to earn a living. Village life and urban landscapes are recurring themes in his body of work, which includes both oil and watercolour paintings.

His previous auction record was HK$475,000 (S$86,524) for Tending To Buffaloes In The Rain, set at a Christie's sale last year.

5. Beauty Even Gods Find Ravishing (1997)

By Teng Nee Cheong, oil on canvas

Sold for HK$400,000 (S$72,900)


Beauty Even Gods Find Ravishing (1997) by Teng Nee Cheong. PHOTO: CHRISTIE'S

An alumnus of the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts, Teng, born in 1951, works with a vibrant palette. His paintings often reference influences of cultures and traditions from both the East and West.

His previous auction record was HK$275,000 (S$50,100) for Scarlet Glory Upon Midnight Blooms, set at a Christie's sale last year.

6. Nature's Melody; Everlasting Bliss; Flora And Fauna; Peace And Harmony (2015)

By Lee Hock Moh, ink and colour on paper

Sold for HK$300,000 (S$54,650)


Nature's Melody; Everlasting Bliss; Flora And Fauna; Peace And Harmony (2015) by Lee Hock Moh. PHOTO: CHRISTIE'S

This quadriptych work is done in Lee's signature style, which borrows painting techniques from both Chinese traditional ink and Western art. The scenes of nature and orchids are also classic subjects in the oeuvre of the Cultural Medallion recipient born in 1947.

His previous auction record was HK$237,500 (S$43,300) for Wings Of Happiness, set at a Christie's sale in 2013.

7. Nanyang Landscape (1970s)

By Chen Chong Swee, Chinese ink and colour on paper

Sold for HK$212,500 (S$38,710)


Nanyang Landscape (1970s) by Chen Chong Swee. PHOTO: CHRISTIE'S

A pioneer Singapore artist, Chen, born in 1910, was dedicated to pushing the boundaries of traditional Chinese ink painting and this work is such an example. It adopts the pictorial format of a Chinese scroll painting and a landscape that is familiar to Chinese ink works but the two figures are depicted in traditional Malay outfits.

His previous auction record was HK$118,750 (S$21,631) for Nanyang Ladies, set at a Sotheby's sale last year.

8. Boats In The Singapore River (1950s to 1963)

By Lim Cheng Hoe, watercolour on paper

Sold for HK$200,000 (S$36,431)


Boats In The Singapore River (1950s TO 1963) BY Lim Cheng Hoe. PHOTO: CHRISTIE'S

Lim, a pioneer Singapore artist born in 1912, was a key proponent of the watercolour medium and founded the Singapore Watercolour Society. The Singapore River was a recurring theme in his oeuvre.

His previous auction record was HK$150,000 (S$27,323) for Still Life With Rambutan, set at a Sotheby's sale last year.

9. Light The Caretaker (2015)

By Ruben Pang, oil, alkyd, acrylic and retouching varnish on aluminum composite panel

Sold for HK$187,500 (S$34,154)


Light The Caretaker (2015) BY Ruben Pang. PHOTO: CHRISTIE'S

Pang, born in 1990, is the youngest Singapore artist with works in the sale. His previous auction record was S$10,620 for the work Untitled, set at a 2013 sale by home-grown auction house 33 Auction.