Admitted to the School of Museum of Fine Arts in Boston in 1921, Teng-Hiok Chiu was the first foreigner to be granted the membership of Royal Society of British Artists. He was an active participant in the art circles of Europe and the United States from 1920s-1950s. This auction features Chiu's early and mature works, representative of the spectrum of Chiu's artistic development. Painted when Chiu was studying in Boston, Still Life (Lot 1327) shows the skilled techniques of Chiu in naturalistic rendering and mastery in academic still-life compositions. Most still life paintings of flowers emphasize on the variegated colours of the blossoms. However, Still Life is primarily of dark brownish tones and the subject depicted is not of blossoming flowers but of dried ones that have passed their prime. The vase is rendered in a naturalistic way, yet the dried flowers in the vase are painted with loose brushstrokes in the style of the Impressionists. Although only portraying a small corner of an interior, the painting expresses the feeling of autumn, reminding the timely change of the seasons.
Double-sided Landscape (Lot 1326) is a later work by Teng-Hiok Chiu which is rare in his creation. Influenced by the artistic movement of Orphism which emphasizes the "simultaneous contrast of colours" and "pure colours", Chiu employed bold brushstrokes and sensational bright colours in this painting. Relying on forms and colours, the contrast of light and dark, the intensity of the hues, as well as the contrast of warm and cool colours, help model the objects. Chiu used a new framework to illustrate natural daylight on the two-dimensional canvas and presents time as an integral part of the painting's meaning. By emphasizing on the rhythm of the forms and colours, the vitality of the city and the tranquility of the country-side are described in an innovative, lyrical abstract manner which differentiates Chiu amongst his peers.