A huge artwork created by Lee Man Fong is to lead Sotheby's Contemporary Southeast Asian art auction on October 7 in Hong Kong.
Lee Man Fong was a Chinese artist who achieved success as the presidential painter for Indonesia's President Sukarno, following a move to Jakarta in 1932. He received training from the illustrious Lingnan School in China, and was later awarded a scholarship to study in the Hague on the recommendation of the governor general of the Dutch East Indies, Hubertus Johannes van Mook, in recognition of his talent, despite not being from the area.
The piece at auction was created in 1951 during Lee Man Fong's trip to Holland. A pivotal point in his career, it was during this visit that his first show received a lukewarm response, spurring him to create the trademark style we know today.
Entitled Fortune and Longevity, the work is considered to be one of Lee Man Fong's finest, with a brilliant display of both Eastern and Western styles. Measuring 8 ½ feet in length, it is one of the earliest and most stunning horizontal pieces that he ever created.
Fortune and Longevity was first acquired directly from the artist and has spent more than six decades in private collections; the sale will be the first time it has ever been offered to the public.
The current world record for Lee Man Fong's work at auction stands with his large scale Bali Life, which sold for $3.3m at Sotheby's in 2010. We believe this epic work could run that figure close.
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