FORMERLY THE PROPERTY OF THE DR K S LO COLLECTION
Dr. K. S. Lo (1910-1995), entrepreneur and Chinese antiques collector, personified one of the most successful stories in 20th century Hong Kong - one that is closely related to the history and the people of Hong Kong. Born in 1910 in Guangdong, Dr. Lo moved to Malaysia with his mother at the age of ten and subsequently returned to Hong Kong, where he completed his education at the University of Hong Kong in 1934.
Dr. Lo's legendary Vitasoy empire had a very humble beginning. In 1937 at the age of 27, he attended a presentation on the benefits of soya bean in Shanghai, and the idea stayed with him. It was not until 1939 that Dr. Lo and four of his friends founded The Hong Kong Soya Bean Products Company, with their first production plant up and running in Causeway Bay in 1940. The company experienced slow growth and sales throughout the years of the Second World War and was brought to a halt when Dr. Lo fled Hong Kong for China with his family. Upon returning to Hong Kong, Dr. Lo revived the Vitasoy business in 1945 and over the next few decades, the company experienced many breakthroughs, resulting in product diversification, wider distribution, growing popularity, and brand recognition. Vitasoy has acquired a strong, local, distinctly Hong Kong flavor for its brand; its production plant frequently visited by school pupils and featured in popular culture. Even now, the soya milk drink is integral to the beverage culture in Hong Kong, and its overseas market has become increasingly important.
Dr. Lo was not just a successful businessman. His collection of Chinese paintings and works of art and his dedication to the promotion of arts, culture and education is seen all over Hong Kong. Over the years Dr. Lo assembled an outstanding and memorable collection of classical and modern ink paintings that is extraordinary to have been assembled under one roof; his collection is remarkable both in terms of quality and quantity. Some of these works, such as the splashed ink and colour, golden ink-outlined Lotus by Zhang Daqian, Roar by Wu Guanzhong, which was representative of his works in the 1980s (both offered in Christie's sale in May 2011), Jinggang Mountains by Fu Baoshi, Tianmu Mountains by Xu Beihong (both offered in Christie's sale in May 2013), and Jianggang Mountains by Li Keran, which commemorates the cradle of the people's revolution (to be offered in this sale), offer a glimpse of Dr. Lo's exquisite taste and his ambition to collect only the best works he could among 20th century ink paintings. Dr. Lo's enthusiasm in supporting emerging and unconventional artists in China and Hong Kong such as Shi Lu, Wu Guanzhong, and Huang Yongyu also formed an eclectic mix of works that we now know as new ink or contemporary ink paintings. Such a pioneering vision led to a comprehensive and fascinating fusion of the old and the new. Apart from ink paintings, Dr. Lo's collection of works of art is equally insightful. His passion for tea ware and his comprehensive collection in the category eventually formed the foundation for the Flagstaff House Museum of Tea Ware, where one of the galleries is named after him.
Painting from the Heart: Selected Works of Wu Guangzhong, Foreign Languages Press, Beijing, 1990, p. 30.