Chen Chong Swee

1910 - 1986


1984 | Chen Chong Swee Retrospective at National Museum Art Gallery, Singapore 
1993 | Chen Chong Swee, His Thoughts, His Art, National Museum
1994 | Chen Chong Swee Charity Auction, Sotheby’s Singapore 
1998 | Passages, Selected works of Chen Chong Swee, National Heritage Board
2010 | Chen Chong Swee: A Legacy in Truth, Goodness & Beauty, Galleries 1 & 2, Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts



1965 | Meritorious Public Service Star, by the Republic of Singapore


  • Singaporean watercolourist belonging to the pioneer generation of artists espousing the Nanyang style of painting unique to Singapore, at the turn of the 20th century
  • One of the first artists in Singapore to use Chinese ink painting techniques to render scenery and figurative paintings of local and Southeast Asian themes
  • Trained in both Eastern and Western styles, however, Chen Chong Swee is known for combining the aesthetic and cultural traditions of both styles in his paintings
  • In 1935 he co-founded the Salon Art Society (Singapore Society of Chinese Artists) and taught art in various schools in Singapore between 1936 and 1970
  • He also served on various advisory and management committees of art societies in Singapore
  • In 1969, he co-founded the Singapore Watercolour Society with artists like Lim Cheng Hoe, and Loy Chye Chuan, and served as the Society treasurer for many years
  •  In 1995, the Chen Chong Swee Art Scholarship Fund was also established by the National Arts Council to research programmes and fund postgraduate studies in visual arts
  • Pictures of Bali Exhibition in 1953 was the result of a trip by Chen with his fellow artists Cheong Soo Pieng, Chen Wen Hsi and Liu Kang to the Indonesian island of Bali. This trip also led later to the development of the Nanyang School of Painting by these artists. One of his well-known paintings, entitled ‘Balinese Women’ (1952) is from this collection



2012 Oct |  Sotheby’s Hong Kong

2013 Nov | Masterpiece Singapore | Watercolour on paper (36cm x 46cm), RM28,405