Lee Man Fong, Chinese Traditional and Western Modern Painting

February 24, 2011
Kakek dengan Cucu (Grandfather and his Grandchildren), 1948, oil on plank

Kakek dengan Cucu (Grandfather and his Grandchildren), 1948, oil on plank

Indonesian painting world has foreign artists not only from western countries such as Walter Spies, Rudolf Bonnet, Antonio Blanco, Arie Smith, and Lee Mayor. We have also an artist from China which has been Indonesian with international reputation. He is Lee Man Fong.

Lee Man Fong was born in Guangzhou, China, in 1913. He grew and learned painting in Singapore until 1932. Then he moved to Indonesia and for about 30 years involved in various art activities. He built friendship with Indonesian painters of Persagi (Persatuan Ahli Gambar Indonesia), Indonesian Painter Association, such as Sudjojono and  Affandi. Even, Man Fong involved in a movement to fight the Japanese colonialism in Indonesia so that he was jailed for some months.

In 1949 he had scholarship from the Neitherland government to study painting in Holland. Three years later he returned to Jakarta and more involved in art exhibitions and activities in Indonesia and foreign. In 1955 he  established Yin Hua, an organization for Chinese painter in Jakarta.

The first President of Indonesia, Soekarno, who was interested with his works asked Man Fong to be painter for his Presidential palace in 1961. Lee Man Fong also got Indonesian citizenship. In 1966 because of political situation in Indonesia after President Soekarno fell from grace, Man Fong moved to Singapore and continued his career as painter. So that people know him as Singaporean artist. But in 1985 he come backed to Indonesia until his death on April 1988 because of ill.

Lee Man Fong’s paintings were known so unique. According to art critic Agus Dermawan T, Lee Man Fong had ability to mix Chinese traditional and western modern technique in his works. His technique was not easy imitated by other painter.  He could painting in various media such as oil,  watercolor, pastel and pencil. Collection of his paintings can be enjoyed in the book written by Agus Dermawan T:  Lee Man Fong: Oil Paintings, vol. 1 and 2.

Lee Man Fong’s paintings were searched by many world collectors and the prices are between US $ 30,000 until US $ 120,000. It is so amazing.

One Response to Lee Man Fong, Chinese Traditional and Western Modern Painting

  1. Lee Man Fong|Chinese Traditional Painting|Western Modern Painting ……

    […]He built friendship with Indonesian painters of Persagi (Persatuan Ahli Gambar Indonesia), Indonesian Painter Association, such as Sudjojono and Affandi. Even, Man Fong involved in a movement to fight the Japanese colonialism in …[…]…

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