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Lot 002

b. Selangor, 1918


Signed and dated ‘Yow Chork 86’ lower left
Oil on board
25cm x 23cm

Private collection, Kuala Lumpur.

ESTIMATE  RM 2,500 - 4,000

Fung Yow Chork would go on alfresco painting excursions with his artist friends, favouring the out-of-the way places of disused tin mines, barren open land, fringe of forested areas – any landscapes with a painterly view and all the prerequisite elements of light, contrast, colour, character and peculiarities. This work is no different, as he painted it on the way up to Genting Highlands with some friends. Many would not have batted an eyelid, but his artist’s eye had obviously picked a gem of a rocky outcrop albeit with artistic editing. A self-taught artist, he used to be dubbed the Cezanne of the Melati Flats in the Pudu area in Kuala Lumpur but has stopped painting for several years now because of his advancing years: he is 95 and is the last founding member of the Selangor Club.

Fung Yow Chork was only 13 when he picked up the finer points in art from an artist in China who had studied Impressionism in Japan. In 1933, his family migrated to Singapore and there, he forged a friendship with Professor Zhong Bai-mu, a lecturer of the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts who occasionally guided him on painting in oils, even when he (Bai-mu) had returned to Hong Kong. After moving to Kuala Lumpur in 1934, he worked as a salesman, shop-assistant and typesetter with a Chinese newspaper, painting only on Sundays and during holidays and more so after he retired in 1977. In 1957, he won a prize in the Merdeka Independence Trade Fair Art and Photographic exhibition. He held his first solo exhibition at Chin Woo Art Gallery in 1981. On landscape, he told Halinah Todd in an interview published in The New Straits Times in 1981: “The landscape thinks itself in me and I am its consciousness.”

Pioneers of Malaysian Art, Dr. Tan Chee Khuan, The Art Gallery, Penang, 1994.
200 Malaysian Artists, Dr. Tan Chee Khuan, The Art Gallery, Penang, 2002.