Lot 055

b. Selangor, 1918 – d. 2013


Signed and dated ‘Yow Chork 93’ (lower left)
Oil on canvas
55cm x 76cm

Private Collection, Penang.

ESTIMATE  RM 8,000 - 12,000

Illustrated here is a view of a row of shops or flats across the Malacca River with three boats moored at the riverbank. The concentrated building space suggests a thriving town with high density population reflected in Fung Yow Chork’s brilliant rendition – the white walls of the buildings is painted in grids and in a Cubist manner – applying yellow, red, purple and blue tones as shadows – the shapes and colours recur in the reflection of the waters.

The news of the demise of the great outdoor painter Fung Yow Chork late last year brings grief to the local art scene. He 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 – generally any landscapes with a painterly view and all the prerequisite elements of light, contrast, colour, character and peculiarities. A self-taught artist, he used to be dubbed the Cezanne of the Melati Flats in the Pudu area in Kuala Lumpur.

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 (Chung Pak Mook), a lecturer of the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts. After moving to Kuala Lumpur in 1934, he worked as a salesman, shopassistant and typesetter with a Chinese newspaper, painting only on Sundays and during holidays and more so after he retired in 1977. 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.