Lot 014

Yong Mun Sen
b. Sarawak, 1896 - d. Penang, 1962

Untitled, 1946

signed and dated
‘MUNSON 1946’ (lower right)
watercolour on paper
43 x 52cm

Private collection, Singapore

ESTIMATE RM 12,000 – 24,000
It may sound cliched, but to emphasise the tough labour and endurance, Yong Mun Sen would stretch out the labourer figure in a diagonal for the exaggerated length and have the feet sluggish dragging in the morass of earth, capturing the agony and pain toiling in the field. This was painted after World War II when artists of the day were poor but managed to capture these rare images of human ambitions and determinations using cheaper art medium such as watercolour on paper. You have seen this device used in works, especially in the 1940s, such as The Women (1940), Happy Family, Procession Of Fruit Pickers, Cooperation and Ploughing (all 1946). The orangey hues all around and the sun-burnt dark-brown skin of presumably the farmer say it all of the preparation of the soil for the next bed of padi-plhelf anting.

A Taipu Hakka, Mun Sen was a fourth-generation Malayan, born Yen Lang but who changed his name to Mun Sen in 1922, and started painting in watercolours in 1930. He was accorded post-humous Memorial exhibitions in Singapore and Gallery 11 in Kuala Lumpur, both in 1966; followed by two in 1972 by the National Art Gallery and the Penang State Art Gallery (PSAG). The PSAG gave him a fullblown retrospective in 1999. He co-founded the Penang Chinese Art Club in 1936 (president, 1937) and the Singapore Society of Chinese Artists (vice-president, 1936).