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Yong Mun Sen

Yong Mun Sen (1896 - 1962)

Born in 1896, Kuching, Sarawak, Mun Sen is considered as one of the pioneer artists who influenced the birth and growth of modern contemporary Malaysian art and is widely known as the Father of Malaysian Painting. Although trained in formal Chinese brush painting and calligraphy in China, he was drawn to watercolours and later oils. He was best known for his fluid execution of landscapes in watercolour. 

Mun Sen went to Kwantung (now Guangdong), China in 1901 for formal education specialising in calligraphy. During the stay, the experience of witnessing a Japanese watercolour artist had made an indelible impression on Mun Sen. Since then, he picked up watercolour painting and eventually it became one of his greatest strengths.

In 1920, Mun Sen moved to Penang and instantly fell in love with the island; he was captivated by the charm of Penang. He had his own art studio on Penang Road and later Northam Road. In 1936, together with fellow artists, Mun Sen formed the Penang Chinese Art Club. 

Mun Sen excelled in watercolour painting that depicts landscapes, which incorporate influences from Chinese art resulting in more airy and generalised compositions rather than detailed depictions. Since his death in 1962, his works have retained an important and honoured place in Malaysian art. He was honoured with a memorial exhibition at National Art Gallery, Kuala Lumpur in 1972.

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