b. China 1917 - d. Kuala Lumpur 1987
Children Drinking Tea & Playing Chess, undated
Inscribed in Chinese with seal (lower right)
and Chinese seal (upper left)
Ink and colour on paper
19cm x 23cm each
Private Collection, Penang.
ESTIMATE RM 2,000 - 4,000
PRICE REALISED RM 4,480
|Huang Yao had always adored children and this special affinity was evident in many of his works, these five paintings are such instances. Painting the innocence of children brings Huang Yao back to the fond memories of his childhood. Here, Huang Yao cleverly frames his characters by placing a tree on each side resembling a pair of parenthesis.
Children Drinking Tea & Playing Chess depicts five of his signature characters having a joyful time in the company of friends. Seated on the ground dressed in Hanfu robes, two children are in a game of chess while another child watches on and two other children by the boiling teapot, one child is preparing the tea while the other is eating.
Huang Yao’s ancestor can be traced to Huang Xiang, a filial son of the Eastern Han Dynasty and through his father, Huang Hanzhong, he was taught the traditional Chinese arts of calligraphy, painting, classical literature, philology, history and philosophy. He was raised in an environment that strongly appreciates arts and culture. In 1935, Huang Yao became Art Editor of the Shanghai Post and drew a huge following with his cartoon character, Niubizi, which had also become his nom de plume from 1934 to 1956. He had written and published numerous educational books namely A Chinese Soldier (1941) for the army during the war in China, Ten Talks on Niubizi for art classes in schools which was later translated into Malay language as Eight Talks on Niubizi, Chongqing in Cartoon (1943) and many more.
He travelled extensively during his lifetime, leaving China for Vietnam before moving to Thailand, Singapore and finally settling down in Malaysia. His legacy has seen a great resurgence since his retrospective exhibition in Singapore and Shanghai, China in 2001 and 2011 respectively. More major museums are including works of Huang Yao into their list of pantheons. They include the British Museum, Ashmolen Museum, the National Palace Museum of Taiwan and the Shanghai Museum in China. A special memorial show titled The Remarkable Guest of Malaya was displayed at the National Visual Arts Gallery, Kuala Lumpur in 2013.
Return To Innocence: Huang Yao’s Painting of Happy Children, Dr. Tan May Ling.
Rediscovered Talent, Huang Yao: Cartoonist/Scholar/Painter, Shanghai Art Museum, 2011.