Oil on canvas
22.5 x 17.5 cm
In this self-portrait, Georgette Chen looks directly at the viewer with a sense of stoicism and dignity, all the more impressive when seen in the context of her personal life at the time. This piece was completed two years after the artist's beloved husband Eugene had passed away from a prolonged illness while the couple was under house arrest in Shanghai.
Born in Zhejiang Province, China, Georgette Chen Li Ying (1906-1993) received her art education in Paris, New York, and Shanghai. She settled in Singapore in 1953 and taught at Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts until she retired in 1980. Chen's artistic career can be divided into three phases: French period (1927-1933), China-Hong Kong period (1934-1948) and Penang-Singapore period (1949-1980). She is best known for her accomplished still life paintings, portraits and landscapes. Regarded as a pioneer artist of Singapore, Chen was instrumental in developing the Nanyang Style and was awarded the Cultural Medallion in 1982.
Gift of Lee Foundation.
Collection of National Gallery Singapore.
Image courtesy of National Heritage Board.