IBRAHIM HUSSEIN, DATUK
b. Kedah, 1936 - d. Kuala Lumpur, 2009
THE SEARCHER, 1963
Signed and dated 'IB 63' (lower right)
Mixed media on magazine stock
25cm x 23cm
Private Collection, United States of America
ESTIMATE RM 10,000 - 15,000
PRICE REALISED RM 13,200
|Executed in chaotic thickets of black strokes set against a backdrop of flaming red, cerulean blue, black and grey, The Searcher was created during his studies at the Byam Shaw School of Drawing and Painting and was displayed at the Galerie Internationale in Madison Avenue in New York from April 15-28, 1965. In 1961 to 1962, he visited France, Italy and Holland. In 1963, he held a solo exhibition at the John Whibley Gallery. If guided by the title, the search must have been a tedious one with the darkened labyrinths of lines and splashes. Art Critic Charles S. Spencer commented in the New York Times: “He (Ib) has instinctive talent for making patterns so that the drawing of the figures, their centrality to the overall plane, and the very manner of applying his paint in whittling jabs, contribute to designs which are in themselves always satisfying and at the same time, underline the vitality and exuberance inherent in his pictorial aim.”
Blinded on one eye at eight, Ib went on to become one of the country’s international art icons, at one time with a museum to his name in Pulau Langkawi. His art career started when he briefly attended the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts, Singapore in 1957. But his precocity bloomed when he studied in London, first at the Byam Shaw School of Drawing and Painting (1959 - 1963) and he had the honour of being invited to join the elite Royal Academy in London (1963 - 1966) by the academy’s Keeper Sir Henry Rushbury. From 1967 to 1968, he was awarded the Rockefeller Fund scholarship to tour the United States, where he held two solo exhibitions in New York – at Galerie Internationale and Newsweek Gallery. In 1977, Ib was invited to show with Andy Warhol and Salvador Dali, two of the world’s greatest artists of the 20th Century, in Kuwait. In 1970, he was selected for the Smithsonian Institute workshop as a fringe exhibition in the Venice Biennale. Ib is the most decorated Malaysian artist, among his awards are the Japan Foundation Cultural Award (1988), the Order of Andres Bello of Venezuela (1993), the Order of Bernardo O’ Higgins of Chile (1996) and the World Economic Forum’s Crystal Award (1997). In 2007, the Malaysian Government awarded him with the Anugerah Tokoh Melayu Terbilang. He had the distinction of being bestowed the ‘Datuk’ titles by three different royalties. He was given a retrospective by the National Art Gallery, Kuala Lumpur in 1986.
Ibrahim Hussein: A Retrospective, National Art Gallery, Kuala Lumpur, 1986.