Extract from “Masterpieces from the National Art Gallery of Malaysia”
《Dawn》37cm x 54.5cm Watercolour on parchment paper 1955
Yong Mun Sen
Yong Mun Sen was one of the small number of pioneering Malaysian artists of the pre Second World War era. He went to China to study art during the 1920s and was one of the founder members of the Penang Chinese Art Club, which was formed in Georgetown duringthe mid-1930s. He painted in both the oil and watercolour mediums. Mun Sen had painted many idyllic, scenic views around Penang Island in the watercolour medium. The pre-War popularity of watercolour painting may have been prompted by the English preference for the medium as well and the easy availability of the medium during that era. It had also allowed the artists the means to work hurriedly in outdoor situations. Depicting the salient aspects of the observed tropical landscape had been popular with these early watercolour artists, inspired by essentially romantic ideas of the picturesque. This work is a good example of Mun Sen’s fluid yet controlled treatment of the watercolour medium, which witnessed conscious attempts made to synthesize Western and Chinese aesthetic influences. A quiet, laid-back atmosphere dominates the mood of the work. The dominant images are the motionless trees and the sloping grass embankment. Also included are a number of the stylised figure types that the artists sometimes included in his scenic landscapes.