Lot 003

b. Selangor, 1936 - d. Kuala Lumpur, 2013

c. 1970-1972; 1983; c.1974-1976

Watercolour on paper
15cm x 15cm; 13cm x 14cm; 13cm x 13cm

Private collection, Kuala Lumpur.

Accompanied with certificate of authenticity

ESTIMATE RM 1,000 - 1,600

This suit of three watercolours measuring not more than 15cm x 15cm each reveal Tew Nai Tong’s different approaches to subjects, the first of a fishing village with light summary touches and faint reflections in the foreground; the next of an open land with distant mountains dominated by the sparse but towering vegetation on the right; and the last imbued with tonal washes with a suggestion of a windswept condition. Although in later years, Nai Tong preferred the “stronger” textural complexion of oils, his earlier works were mostly in watercolours as it was quick and challenging. After all, he had helped set up two main watercolour societies, first the Malaysian Watercolour Society, and then the Contemporary Malaysian Watercolour Association. He also co-founded the now-defunct Le Beaux Art Gallery in Kuala Lumpur.

Tew Nai Tong studied at the Nanyang Academy of Fine Art in Singapore from 1957-1958 and furthered his studies at the Ecole Nationale Superieure des Beaux-Arts (1967-68). He had had several solo exhibitions since his first at the British Council in Kuala Lumpur in 1964f culminating in his major survey given by the National Art Gallery titled Odyssey in 2007. Hugely versatile, Nai Tong could paint in watercolours and oil on a variety of subjects and also sculpt. His awards included the 2nd Prize in the Chartered Bank mural design competition in 1964, the Shell Best Award (watercolour, 1981), Esso Best Award (1982), Dunlop Best Award (watercolour, 1983), and the Asia Art Award in Seoul, South Korea, in 2009. For 23 years, he had taught at various art academies namely the Malaysian Institute of Art (1969-1980), Central Academy of Art (1982-1985) and the Saito Academy of Art (head, Fine Art, 1986-1988) before he decided to go fulltime in 1992.