Obituary

Artist Lee Boon Ngan, accomplished oil painter who specialised in painting flowers, died aged 78

Lee Boon Ngan (above) specialised in painting flowers in oil, but shunned the limelight.
Lee Boon Ngan (above) specialised in painting flowers in oil, but shunned the limelight.PHOTO: COURTESY OF FAMILY OF LEE BOON NGAN
Lee Boon Ngan specialised in painting flowers in oil (above), but shunned the limelight.
Lee Boon Ngan specialised in painting flowers in oil (above), but shunned the limelight.PHOTO: COURTESY OF FAMILY OF LEE BOON NGAN

Artist Lee Boon Ngan, the wife of award-winning painter Chua Mia Tee, died at age 78 on Sunday. She had been ill for 11 months.

An accomplished oil painter in her own right, she was best known for the portrait her husband did of her as a high school girl in 1957.

That oil on canvas, Portrait Of Lee Boon Ngan, hangs in National Gallery Singapore and was prominently displayed during its opening festivities in 2015. It is part of the gallery's collection.

Lee is survived by Chua, 85, their two children and two grandchildren. Their daughter Chua Yang is a specialist obstetrician and gynaecologist at Mount Alvernia Medical Centre and their son Chua Hong is dean at the Technological and Higher Education Institute of Hong Kong.

Lee graduated from the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts (Nafa) in 1965. She participated in various group exhibitions and several joint shows with her husband, whom she married in 1961. Their daughter says the couple were inseparable and "did everything together, always".

Her husband, Chua, is known for his realistic scenes of early Singapore, including the famous National Language Class (1959).

Lee specialised in painting flowers in oil, but shunned the limelight. Still, her work was bought by private collectors and commissioned by statutory boards such as the former Board of Commissioners of Currency, Singapore, which has merged with the Monetary Authority of Singapore.

She came from an artistic family. Her elder brother was oil painter Lee Boon Wang, who died in October last year and was known for his seascapes and river scenes. He was a classmate of Chua's at Nafa and introduced the painter to his sister.

Another brother is Singapore Press Holdings chairman Lee Boon Yang, a former Cabinet minister.

The wake is being held till tomorrow at Purity Hall, Mount Vernon Sanctuary, 121 Upper Aljunied Road. Visiting hours are 2 to 8pm. A private funeral will be held on Thursday.

The family requests private and silent remembrances. Donations will be given to the National Gallery.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 25, 2017, with the headline 'Artist Chua Mia Tee's wife an accomplished oil painter'. Print Edition | Subscribe