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. Drawing inspiration from his surroundings, Chen often depicted scenes from daily life, such as seen in ‘Picnic’, of people relaxing by the seaside. His attention to realistic depiction is evident particularly in the contrasting textures of the rough bark with the leaves.