See Xiangtuo (1906 – 1990)
See Xiangtuo was born in 1906 in Longxi, Fujian, China and came to Singapore in 1938. Well-known for his calligraphy and seal-carving works, See was also an accomplished ink painter and arts educator who dedicated more than 40 years of his life to teaching at Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts since 1941. Born to a family of Chinese literati, See learned Chinese classical techniques and ink painting under the guidance of his father and grandfather from a young age and had cited the eminent Wu Changshuo and the Shanghai School as major influences in his career. Over the years, See’s works evolved to reflect on the local scene and often injected quintessential Nanyang elements in his paintings. While his subject matter may sometimes deviate from the traditional, See’s style remains distinctively Chinese and often featured the use of rich colours.
As an outstanding calligrapher, See breathes life into his characters by imbuing them with a sense of rhythm and vitality, resulting in works which are simple, yet bold and imposing. See believes that the first step to grasping the three essential elements of Chinese brush painting – the image, calligraphic text, and seal – lies in one’s dedication to mastering the practice of calligraphy.
See served as the President of Society of Chinese Artists from 1976 to 1977 and Vice-President from 1978 to 1981. He also served as an adviser of the Siaw Tao Seal-Carving, Calligraphy and Painting Society when it was first established in 1971. In 1973, See was awarded the Public Service Star National Day Award for his artistic achievements. See passed away in 1990.