Road Along the Beach

Born in Guangdong Province, China, Chen Chong Swee (1910-1985) came to Singapore in 1931 shortly after graduating from Xinhua Academy of Art, Shanghai. He co-founded the Salon Art Society (now the Singapore Society of Chinese Artists) in 1935 and was a teacher with Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts for over 20 years. In 1952, Chen, together with fellow artists Chen Wen Hsi, Cheong Soo Pieng and Liu Kang, went on what would eventually turn out be a historically significant trip to Bali, Indonesia in search of new inspiration and subject matter. As one of the first artists instrumental in developing the Nanyang Style, Chen pioneered attempts to interpret local landscapes according to the Chinese concept of pictorial composition with Western watercolour techniques. In ‘Road along the Beach’, the curve of the road gently leads the viewer’s gaze from the bottom of the work to the top, taking in the sights along the way on either side of the road. Although rendered in the style of traditional Chinese ink painting especially in the areas of the hill and trees, the work incorporates the Western linear perspective with a vanishing point.