TAN CHOON GHEE
b. Penang, 1930-2010
TUA PEK KONG TEMPLE, PENANG, 1989
Signed and dated ‘CHOON GHEE 1989’ lower right
Watercolour on paper
52.5cm x 62.5cm
Private collection, Singapore; acquired directly from the artist.
ESTIMATE RM 8,000 - 12,000
PRICE REALISED RM 17,600
Depicted in Tan Choon Ghee’s signature brush work and radiant watercolour, this piece shows the Tua Pek Kong Temple located along Jalan Burma at Pulau Tikus, Penang. The temple has obviously given way to modern-living conditions, retaining the pillars with its intricate top and an ornate mural of a tiger on the left. On the left where the living quarters of the caretakers are, a blue-striped PVC canopy is strung over a wooden window, replacing a corrugated zinc awning. The brick work from the chipped cement on the right shows that it is in need of refurbishment. In The Art Of Tan Choon Ghee (1997), the artist wrote: “Almost all the Chinese temples are identical in architectural designs. The front portion is always open and full of fascinating objects such as lanterns, altars and ornate pillars. It creates an impression of the depth of painting.”
Tan Choon Ghee is legendary for his watercolours of Penang street life. He graduated from the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts in Singapore in 1951 and went on to study at the Slade School of Art, London graduating in 1959. Then he received a German Government painting scholarship and an Australian Government TV set design scholarship. He worked for TV Singapore and TV Broadcast Ltd. in Hong Kong before deciding to become a full-time artist. Choon Ghee was given a retrospective (1957- 2000) by the Penang State Art Gallery in 2000 and another retrospective (1957-1992) by The Art Gallery, Penang.
The Art of Tan Choon Ghee, Georgetown Printers, 1997.
Tan Choon Ghee Retrospective (1957-1992), The Art Gallery, Penang.
A Tribute to Tan Choon Ghee, Art Salon@SENI, Kuala Lumpur, 2009.