Self-taught artist Lim Tze Peng is one of Singapore’s most prominent artists. His artworks do not adhere to the traditions of Western painting nor Chinese calligraphy. Instead, he adopts different aspects of art forms that appeal to him and, by doing so, envisions creating artworks that are universal.
Lim is an avid traveller who enjoys painting en plein air. In the summer of 2000, he embarked on a two-month residency in Paris and explored the French capital with his paintbrushes in hand. Each day, as he observed the sights and sounds of the city, he captured his observations and experiences by painting. At the end of his residency, he painted over 60 works showcasing the city’s beauty. Out of these works, the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts is honoured to receive 45 paintings as a personal donation by Lim – the largest contribution by an artist to the NAFA collection.
An Old Tree stands out amongst Lim’s paintings from his Paris series. In contrast to the portrayal of iconic landmarks or the River Seine, this painting illustrates a tree and its branches towering over human figures. Lim paid particular attention to the textures of the tree, using bold and modulated lines to embrace the tactile qualities of its bark. Its branches, which appear to reach out from one end of the painting to the other, give the piece an animated quality. Here, amid a bustling city like Paris, Lim accentuates the complexity and beauty of subjects we often overlook on a daily basis.