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. In 'Two Figures', Chen's use of exaggerated colours brings forth the intensity of tropical heat and light. A sense of immediacy is conveyed by the painting�s cropped composition. Chen has integrated his interests in Cubism and Expressionism with confidence and flair. Breaking the figures into angular facets accentuates their ruggedness and the rough-and-ready nature of their lifestyle. Coupled with his expressionistic brushwork, the canvas is filled with movement as light bounces off the myriad surfaces.


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