TAN CHOON GHEE
b. Penang, 1930-2010
ENTRANCE TO KHOO KONGSI, 1989
Signed and dated ‘CHOON GHEE 1989’ lower right
Watercolour on paper
51cm x 63cm
Private collection, Singapore; acquired directly from the artist.
ESTIMATE RM 8,000 - 12,000
PRICE REALISED RM 16,500
The Leong San Tong (Dragon Mountain Hall), better known as Khoo Kongsi, is one of the most imposing Taoist temple monuments in the country but it is hidden away, only accessible from this peculiar side entrance. Unlike other access routes to famous temples in the country that are lined with shops selling all kinds of food and goods, there is surprisingly none of the commercial jostling here. The entrance is lined with the two-storey residence built in the Straits Eclectic style with a pavement and louvred bay windows on top. The ‘line’ of prayer tray-tablets hung in front of the houses on the left guides the eye towards the covered walkway to the temple courtyard. The present temple was rebuilt between 1902 and 1906 after the original 1851 structure was burnt down in 1894, purportedly by lightning.
Tan Choon Ghee is legendary for his watercolours of Penang street life. He graduated from the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts, 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.