Painted in 1948, The yellow allamanda is an exquisite work that contains the quintessential elements of a classical work. Painted with a precision and exactitude which are only possible with a gifted talent and rigorous training, the present work reveals Man Fong's mature understanding of the painting vocabulary of the great Dutch impressionists, who unlike their French counterparts, showed a great penchant for a darker palette and a reluctance to relinquish the great Dutch tradition of orchestrating the effect of light on the canvas surface.
The seemingly loosely huddled group of flowers is executed in stunning brushwork that effectively conveys a sense of spontaneity, as the brighter shade of the yellow petals comes through the canvas in a wild manner. The floral arrangement is haphazardly presented, almost as if the flowers are freshly cut and casually placed in the vase. With the scattered shallots, a commonly used vegetable in an Indonesian household, at the side, a sense of intimacy and informality is further heightened, making it believable as a scene captured during a daily moment, and hence lends the painting its timelessness and honesty.
However, one knows that, by training and by conviction, Man Fong did not paint spontaneously. In actuality, he painted with his subjects in front of him and he would have arranged and re-arranged the floral composition to his own standard of ideals, juxtaposing them carefully with the shallots and meticulously balancing them with the drapery. With the curves, forms and textures of all the depicted objects, Man Fong introduces a rhythmic pattern to the painted surface, as with the present work, whilst keeping a strict adherence to a constant source of light on his subjects.