Painted during the period now regarded by Georgette Chen scholars as her China & Hong Kong Period, this scene of the Forbidden City can be attributed to the years between 1934 - 1948. Her oeuvre can be generally seen in three stages - marked by distinct changes in style and subject matter - a direct result of her place of residence at that point of time. Therefore, this allows for the precise dating of most of her works.
Born in Paris to a family of intellectuals, Georgette was educated in France, China and the United States, rendering her fluent in French, Mandarin and English. Very accomplished from a young age, Georgette held her first exhibition at the prestigious Salon d'Automne in 1930, at the age of 23.
Pursuing her love of art, Georgette lived all over the world with her diplomat husband before finally settling in Singapore in 1954. She taught art at the Nanyang Academy and continued to exhibit locally and around the region until her retirement in 1981. After a prolonged illness, she finally passed away in 1993.
Georgette's post-impressionistic tendencies are evident in this painting, especially her alignment with the Fauvist movement championed by the likes of Henri Matisse and Albert Marquet. Her painting style paid particular attention to clean and clear brushstrokes, always classy and refined, much like the woman herself. The vivid colours and distinctly outlined images add a level of hyper-realism to the painting, betraying the artist's immense emotional response to her subject. But there is always the attempt at an objective representation of the physical world.
The later works of Georgette feature mainly still life indigenous to the tropical Southeast Asia that she resided for the rest of her life. This example entitled, Mooncakes and Lanterns shows her interest in depicting minute details instead of large, majestic monuments. The lanterns, mooncakes and other assorted festive foods give a glimpse of what goes on inside the home or within the community, in contrast to the external architectural scene of this present lot.
Her artist's eye is equally able to capture an intimate enclosed space, as well as a large spectacle. The attention to detail, whether in the reflection of the palace in the water in this lot, or the words on each mooncake in the accompanying illustration, reflect the artist's keen sensitivity towards her surroundings and is characteristic of all her works.