Lot 116

b. China, 1912 - d. Penang, 2008


Signed 'Teng' (lower right)
60cm x 48cm

Private Collection, United States of America.

ESTIMATE  RM 30,000 - 45,000


The intriguing compositions in Dato’ Chuah Thean Teng’s pictures distinguish himself as the ‘Father of Batik Art’. In Feeding the Cat, a motherly figure dominates the picture depicting her in a seated position with one knee up supporting her arm while her other hand holds a bowl of cat food. Her little daughter peeks through from her underarm to see the hungry grey cat stooped by her mother’s feet. Bold and vibrant red dye is used to accentuate the crouching mother figure and the intricacy of batik motif is evident on her sarong. Hailing from a private collection in the United States of America, this attractive batik piece dated 1975 has been kept in pristine condition by its current owner.

Dato’ Chuah Thean Teng is the world-acknowledged Father of Batik Painting, especially after his break-through exhibition in 1955. He is undisputedly a recognised artist internationally after his successful first exhibition abroad at the Commonwealth Institute in England in 1959. His paintings, Two Of A Kind (1968) and Tell You A Secret (1987), took on iconic status when they were selected for UNICEF greeting cards. Teng first studied at Xiamen (Amoy) Art Institute in China but could not complete because of ill health. He was the first Malaysian to be honoured with a retrospective by the National Art Gallery (NAG) in 1965, and his next was by the Penang State Art Gallery in 1994. The Penang State Government awarded him ‘Dato-ship’ in 1998 and the ‘Live Heritage Award’ in 2005. In 2008, the NAG again offered recognition to Teng, this time billing it a “tribute” exhibition. His major works are on show at his Yahong Art Gallery in Batu Ferringhi in Penang, which is a veritable museum of his art. Yahong also showcases the works of Teng’s three sons and two grandsons who have all followed his creative footsteps.

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