Lot 015

Lee Cheng Yong
b. China, 1913 - d. Penang, 1974

Self-Portrait In Bronze, 1958

watercolour on paper
53 x 36cm

Private collection, Penang

Lee Cheng Yong Retrospective,
Penang State Art Gallery, 1996, p. 10
Eight Pioneers of Malaysian Art,
Dato’ Dr. Tan Chee Khuan,
The Art Gallery Penang, 2013, p. 177

ESTIMATE RM 8,000 – 14,000

Lee Cheng Yong, the most versatile of Malaysia’s pioneer artists and one college-trained, was already accomplished in his techniques when he painted this, from a bronze bust he made of his image. Trained at the Shanghai Academy of Fine Art in China, he gained a lot of followers when he later taught Art at the Chung Ling High School in Penang, and in home private tuitions. In this 2D portrait, Cheng Yong applied the illusory sculptural effect like that of mild embossed copper-tooling. Some of his other self-portraits were in oil. He also painted in pastel, gouache, ink, and on ceramic plates besides sculptures. He was adept at portraits, still-life, Realism and abstracts including a sustained series on Cubism.

He was also an activist, as founding president of the Penang Chinese Art Club (1935), founding member of the Society of Chinese Artists Singapore (1935), Ying Ying Art Society (1936) and the Penang Art Society (1953). He was arguably the second artist to have a proper solo exhibition, at the Philomatic Union in Acheen Street in 1932. In 1996, the Penang State Art Gallery accorded him a Retrospective, and in the same year, he was given a Memorial exhibition at The Art Gallery, Penang.