SINGAPORE – A painting of the Singapore River by Aw Tee Hong was sold for HK$1.125 million (S$198,000) at a Sotheby’s Hong Kong auction on Sunday (Oct 6) – setting a personal record for the artist.
The untitled oil on canvas work by the 88-year-old Singapore artist came from a private collection in Singapore. Bathed in a golden glow, the painting features rustic-looking river boats juxtaposed against skyscrapers in the distance.
It went under the hammer during Sotheby’s Hong Kong Modern & Contemporary Southeast Asian Art Day Sale at the the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre.
Aw, who is behind The River Merchants bronze sculpture in Raffles Place, uses a variety of media in his practice. He has captured fast-vanishing cityscapes in his work, bearing witness to Singapore’s transformation through the years.
He is not the only living Singapore artist to have set a new personal record in recent years.
In 2017, an acrylic on canvas painting by pioneer artist Ong Kim Seng, titled Nepal, was sold for HK$725,000 at Sotheby’s Hong Kong.
Neither sale comes close, however, to Tan Swie Hian’s ink-on-rice-paper work Portrait Of Bada Shanren – which sold for 20.7 million yuan (S$4.4 million) at the 2014 Poly Auction in Beijing, breaking Tan’s earlier record for the most expensive work sold at an auction by a living Singapore or South-east Asian artist.
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