Painted in 1935, Doves is an exquisite work that contains the quintessential elements of a classical work of Lee Man Fong. Painted with a precision and exactitude possible only with the gifted talent and rigorous training admitted with Lee Man Fong, the present work reveals the artist's mature understanding of the painting vocabulary of the great Dutch impressionists who unlike their French counterparts, showed a great penchant to a darker palette and a reluctance to relinquish a great Dutch tradition of orchestrating the effect of light on the painted surface.
Being an Indonesian-Chinese artist who has received a Western training in painting, it is no wonder that the artist's primary objective has always been that of merging the two worlds - Chinese and Western painting. His technique is always Western, the understanding of light and shading, the maneuvering of his brush and oil and the application of perspective are apparent with his works whilst his sensibilities remain distinctly rooted in the Oriental. With the present composition, the realistic rendition of the doves strikes a very interesting contrast with the impressionistic rendering of the foliage which is evocative of the Chinese landscape works thus achieving a harmony intended by the artist, a balance between his practical training and his aesthetic lineage.
The inscription in Chinese on the composition further accentuates that the oil on board was treated like a traditional ink and brush work by the artist as the long standing tradition of inscription on an art work, either by the artist or a collector went back as long as the history of painting in China.