Born in China, Chen Wen Hsi (1906-1991) settled in Singapore in 1949 and taught at Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts in the 1950s. Chen was instrumental in the development of the Nanyang Style and is recognised as one of the pioneer artists of Singapore. Highly influential, he is regarded as the doyen of Singapore Chinese-brush artists. Although he painted mainly in Chinese brush, he often ventured into a cubistic style, executed in either oil or ink. An ardent student of nature, Chen is best known for his paintings of gibbons and animals developed from the Lingnan style. 'Rural Landscape' is a mosaic of different elements of tropical rural (possibly Malaysian) life, ranging from farmers planting padi and tiling the fields, to a rubber tree in the foreground and a range of coconut trees in the background. Executed in blocks of bright watercolour, the organisation of the painting's various elements in a grid-like structure breaks the picture plane into angular facets. This is consistent with the artist�s interest in incorporating modernist styles such as Cubism in his works.


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