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Lot 23


b. Johor, 1936 - d. Kuala Lumpur, 1991


Signed and dated 'Yu Chian 1957' lower right,
titled 'My Working Place' and inscribed 'To, Mr. J.C.Rao,
with best compliments. Chia Yu Chian' on reverse
Oil on board
50cm x 60cm

Private Collection, Penang

ESTIMATE  RM 15,000 - 25,000

1957 is the year Malaya gained Independence. It was also the year Chia Yu Chian declared his own independence, quitting teaching in Kota Tinggi after three years, to devote himself fulltime to painting. During this period, he painted scenery from all over the Malayan Peninsular and Singapore, which was just a ferry ride away from his then base in Kota Tinggi. This work was done either near the Kota Tinggi fishing village or in Pulau Pangkor. It is not the type of scenery artists of the period would like to highlight, with the incongruity of the discarded ugly detritus marring the otherwise idyllic landscape. There is also the choice of Fauvist-like colours, although this was before his formal art education in Paris.

A graduate from the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts, Singapore in 1958, Yu Chian was the first artist in Malaya to be awarded a French Government scholarship to study at the famed Ecole Nationale des Beaux Arts in Paris from 1959 to 1962. He has his works accepted 15 times in prestigious Salon exhibitions in Paris and received Honourable Mentions in the Salon des Independent and Societe des Artistes Francaise, which was rare for a non-French artist. He was also commissioned to do a mural titled Life In Malaysia for the Malaysian High Commission in Paris. He returned to Malaysia in February 1962 and held a solo exhibition at the British Council in Penang where all 110 works were sold.

Chia Yu Chian Memorial Exhibition, Creative Centre, National Art Gallery, Kuala Lumpur, 2002.
Contemporary Artists of Malaysia, Dolores D. Wharton, 1971.
Chinese Art of the 20th Century, Dr. Michael Sullivan, England, 1965.
Who’s Who In Malaysia, J. Victor Morais, 1975-76.
Modern Artists of Malaysia, T.K. Sabapathy and Redza Piyadasa, Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka, 1983.
Chia Yu Chian in Nanyang, Lim Hak Tai Gallery, Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts, Singapore, 2009.