Lot 082

b. China, 1912 - d. Penang, 2008


Signed 'Teng' (lower right)
91cm x 89cm

Private Collection, Thailand;
acquired through Yahong Art Gallery, Penang.

ESTIMATE  RM 90,000 - 120,000

The Mother-and-Child theme used by batik-art pioneer Dato’ Chuah Thean Teng was an indirect tribute to his mother whom he adored. He had a knack of manifesting the relationship which is often tender, intimate and playful. The theme choice could also have been influenced by the British sculptor Henry Moore with his coalescing monumental forms in marble and bronze. For Teng, as the artist is fondly known, his favourite devices are symmetry, harmony, contrasts, tonal quality, designs (batik sarong patterns), and most of all, simplicity and humour. Here, the little child, with his face in profile, is lodged in the protective laps of two guardians, like a mirror image, with thick outlines on the bodies like an added stabilising stanchion, and the hand firmly resting on the ground.

Dato’ Chuah Thean Teng is the world-acknowledged founder of Batik Painting and he never looked back since his breakthrough exhibition in 1955. His paintings, Two Of A Kind (1968) and Tell You A Secret (1987), took on iconic status when selected for Unicef’s greeting cards. He studied at the Xiamen (Amoy) Art Institute in China but did not complete because of illness. He was honoured with a retrospective by the National Art Gallery (NAG) in 1965 and by the Penang State Art Gallery in 1994. The Penang State Government conferred him Datoship in 1998 and he further received the ‘Live Heritage Award’ in 2005. The NAG gave him a memorial exhibition in 2008. His major works are on show at his Yahong Art Gallery in Batu Ferringhi in Penang, which is a veritable museum also showcasing the batik works of his sons and grandsons.

Chuah Thean Teng Retrospective, Penang Museum and Art Gallery, 1994.
Teng Batik,
Yahong Gallery, Penang, 1968.
Teng: An Appreciation,
National Art Gallery, 2009.