Lim Tze Peng (1921 - )
Lim Tze Peng was born in Singapore in 1921 and is one of the country's most significant and prolific artists. A self-taught artist who learnt calligraphy from a young age, Lim is best known for his nostalgic plein air Chinese ink paintings that capture the scenes of Singapore in the 1980s. Lim was an educator, first as a schoolteacher in 1949 and then as a school principal in 1951, before retiring in 1981. Between 1961 and 1970, he joined the Ten Men Group, a group of art teachers and artists led by artist Yeh Chi Wei. He embarked on painting expeditions around Southeast Asia, where he was introduced to pioneering painters in art, including Cheong Soo Pieng and Chen Wen Hsi.
After his retirement, Lim began to devote more time to his ink practice. He went on field trips around Singapore to document streetscapes of early Singapore that captured the spirit of everyday living. Though Lim is known for his semi-abstract style of coloured ink paintings, he is also inspired by the works of Chinese scholar-painter Huang Binhong, who was adept at painting monochrome natural landscapes. Pursuing his lifelong interest in calligraphy, Lim found inspiration from the work of notable calligraphers, such as Kang Youwei. In recent years, Lim pursues the expressionist style in his works, drawing inspiration from Chinese classical poems and creating abstract and expressive calligraphic works he calls “muddled calligraphy”. In 1981, Lim was awarded the Pingat Bakti Masyarakat (Public Service Medal) by the Singapore government and was conferred the Cultural Medallion in 2003. In 2006, NAFA produced a catalogue titled Tze Peng In Paris, which features the donation of Lim’s works that depict Parisian street scenes and monuments. The Lim Tze Peng Gallery at his alma mater, Chung Cheng High School (Main), was officially opened in July 2014.