LEE MAN FONG (Indonesian, 1913-1988)
LEE MAN FONG (Indonesian, 1913-1988)

Balinese Weaving Girl

LEE MAN FONG (Indonesian, 1913-1988)
Balinese Weaving Girl
signed in Chinese (lower left)
oil on masonite board
122 x 60 cm. (48 x 23 5/8 in.)
one seal of the artist
Private Collection, Indonesia

Brought to you by

Eric Chang
Eric Chang

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Lot Essay


Amongst some of Lee Man Fong's most enduring and iconic artworks are his Bali-themed paintings, ranging from his panoramic Bali Life paintings to intimate portraits of Balinese beauties such as Balinese Beauty (Lot 698) and Balinese Weaving Girl (Lot 699) presented in this sale.

Though Lee Man Fong has never lived in Bali for a considerable period of time as he did in Batavia (Jakarta) and Singapore, he was, as with many artists from the Southeast Asian region and beyond, enchanted by the way of life and culture of Bali.

Amongst some of the rarest portraits of Lee Man Fong collected by the renowned ex-Indonesian president, Sukarno, are his portraits of women in various poses, completed in different media. Illustrated here are portraits in traditional Chinese ink, conte crayon and pencil, as well as Lee Man Fong's signature oil painting on Masonite board. Collectively, they show the versatility of an artist adept in different media and whose keen eye for aesthetic beauty meant he never strayed far from elevating the single lady as the main and only subject of a picture.

Balinese Beauty is, like Lee's other single woman portraits, richly detailed, with distinct outlines delineating the shape of the figure. His technique of rendering the figure is a unique combination of realism while achieving the subtlety and lightness of the Chinese ink brush, through the denser medium of oil.

Balinese Weaving Girl places the subject within the world of pastoral labour. Lee's worldview is informed by a romanticism arising from a deep sense of regard for the importance played by women in Balinese society. Their labour sustains their communities and exemplifies grace and beauty in an everyday context

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