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LIM TZE PENG
(Singaporean, B. 1923)
Balinese Landscape
signed in Chinese (lower left)
ink and pigment on paper
82 x 150 cm. (32 1/4 x 59 in.)
one seal of the artist

Lot Essay

"Using the Chinese brush to paint required one to have a good foundation in calligraphy. I myself have spent several decades perfecting the art of calligraphy." - Lim Tze Peng

Essentially self-taught, Lim Tze Peng mastered the art of Chinese ink and his works are testament to the Chinese ink tradition. Lim drew inspiration from modern ink masters of China, especially Huang Binhong and Li Keran. Born in 1923, Lim had the privilege of practicing art with Singapore pioneers such as Chen Wen Hsi and Cheong Soo Pieng. Similar to that of the pioneer artists, Lim incorporated balance of Chinese traditions and Western techniques in his painting. The effects of light and his free use of ink are suggestive of Western impressionism and modernism, while the beauty of the brush stroke and the inexhaustible uses of ink depict his mastery of Chinese ink painting.

In Balinese Landscape (Lot 7036), the subject matter was something that always fascinated Lim. He was drawn by the symbolic value that trees possessed, from the power of natural forces harnessed in their growth and abundance to the ability of trees to reach into the skies but still remain deeply rooted into the ground. Lim's signature style of ink and colour and focus on the intricacy of the tree exudes a sense of balance and unity in the painting despite the irregularity of the branches of the tree. As Lim is known for incorporating his own personal details in his works, the woman and gazebo that is painted in two corners of the painting could have been included by Lim himself, as these two subjects harmonized the irregularities of the tree branches. Balinese Landscape, with its soothing yet bright colours, is an exceptional painting that depicts of Lim's most favoured subjects as well as displays his mastery of Chinese ink painting.

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