Horse and Groom Oil on board, framed Signed Manfong, with two seals of the artist 119.5cm x 23.5cm (47in x 9¼in).
Provenance: an Australian private collector, acquired in Jakarta, Indonesia, in 1967
李曼峰 山崗馴馬 油彩木板 木框
Lee Man Fong is one of the most important Avant-Grade artist of Southeast Asia. Born in Guangzhou, China, he moved to Singapore at an early age. Subsequently, he resided in Indonesia for over 35 years and was nationalised in 1961.
During Japanese occupation in the Second World War, he was arrested for sheltering underground agents, from the Republic of China. He resumed painting soon after his release. In 1947, he was commissioned by the Dutch Governor of Indonesia to paint a portrait of his wife. The Governor and his wife were deeply impressed by Lee's work so they made an exception to allow Lee, who was not a native Dutch Indonesian, to study in Holland. Lee completed his studies in 1952 and returned to Indonesia where he staged an exhibition. Afterward, the founding President of Republic of Indonesia, Sukarno, appointed Lee as the designated painter of the Presidential Office. He was also appointed as the Editor in Chief of the Paintings From The Collection of Dr. Sukarno, President of the Republic of Indonesia. In his twilight years, he returned to Singapore and remained there until his demise. He made invaluable contribution to the 'Nanyang Painting Style' in his lifetime.
Lee's oil paintings style is unique. Many of Lee's oil painting was done on smooth wooden boards with sleek brushstrokes which was light and smooth. He often depicted the life and culture of Bali, Indonesia. He painted a great number of characters and animals with great vivacity. Xu Beihong was highly commemorative of his potential and described Lee in a preface of a book as 'Young, ambitious and most talented'.
This lot showcased Lee's critically acclaimed 'Oriental Oil Painting Style'. The artist placed the focus on the silhouette of the poised horse and the expression of the young groom wearing a hat, looking backward. The painting merged the oriental and occidental aesthetics and the ambient of life in Southeast Asia. The brushstroke was steady and sensitive. Lee often paints on the similar theme, for example the work 'Up the Slop' painted in Bogor, Indonesia in 1943, 'Taming of the Wild' painted in Amsterdam, Holland in 1947 and 'On the Hillock' painted in Bukit Timah, Singapore in 1967.