Lot 020

b. China, 1913 - d. Penang, 1984


Signed 'K.SIA' (lower right)
Watercolour on paper
25cm x 55cm

Private Collection, Negeri Sembilan.

ESTIMATE  RM 6,000 - 8,000
Khaw Sia, an avid orchid enthusiast, was known for his bevy of orchid paintings and still life paintings of crab and lobster. Here, a stunning illustration of tropical botanies is depicted in the most delicate manner. Hibiscus, Orchid, Red Ginger, Flamingo Flower, African Ansellia, Golden Trumpet are some of the blooms arranged in Khaw Sia’s garden of splendour.

Khaw Sia was perhaps the most flamboyant of the pioneer artists, accessorised in scarf, bow tie, smoking pipe et al. He had his early art tutelage at Sin Hwa Academy in Shanghai, graduating in 1932. In 1933, he took informal private classes under the great British watercolour painter Sir Russell Flint in London. He migrated from China to settle in Penang in 1937 and held his first solo there in 1955. His watercolours were already of such impeccable quality that they were accepted by the prestigious Le Salon Paris in 1956, the 14th Summer Salon at Royal Institute Galleries in London in 1957, and the 25th National Society Exhibition in London in 1958. The Penang State Art Gallery honoured him with a posthumous retrospective in 1998.

Penang Artists 1920s-1990s
, The Art Gallery, Penang, editions: 1990 and 1992.
Pioneers of Malaysian Art
, The Art Gallery, Penang, 1994.