Lim Tze Peng (left) and Yeh Chi Wei painting outdoors.
Lim Tze Peng at Lake Toba, Medan, Sumatra.
Lim Tze Peng on the steps of a long house in Medan, Sumatra.
Lim Tze Peng painting in Chinatown, Singapore.
Lim Tze Peng at Tanah Lot, Bali, Indonesia.
Lim Tze Peng in Bali, Indonesia.
Lim Tze Peng in Bali, Indonesia.
50 Goodman Rd, Singapore 439012
Lim Tze Peng was educated at Chung Cheng High School.
6 Bishan Street 12, Singapore 579806
Lim was a student of Guangyang Primary School.
11 Hougang Ave 8, Singapore 538789
Lim took up teaching at Xinmin Secondary School in 1949, working as a teacher and from 1951 to 1981 as a principle.
Artist Lim Tze Peng.
Lim Tze Peng in Kuala Terengganu, Malaysia, circa 1960s.
Lim Tze Peng painting.
Lim Tze Peng working om his new artwork.
Lim Tze Peng, circa 1970s.
Lim Tze Peng in his later years.
Portrait of Lim Tze Peng.
Lim Tze Peng started to paint since an early childhood. Passionate about his hobby, he practiced painting with great endeavor, producing still lifes rendered in watercolours and oils. He was educated at Guangyang Primary School and Chung Cheng High School. Around this period of time, his love for Chinese calligraphy and oil painting was cultivated under the supervision of such art teachers as Lu Heng, Wong Jai Ling, Gao Peize, and Yeh Chi Wei. In calligraphy, Lim's style was greatly influenced by Kang Youwei, and Kang’s discussion on the aesthetics of Chinese calligraphy in one of his artworks, Guang Yi Zhou Shuang Ji. Lim’s ink paintings, on the other hand, were mainly influenced by Huang Bin Hong.
Lim took up teaching at Xinmin Secondary School in 1949. He became the school’s principal in 1951 and occupied this position until his retirement in 1981. Throughout his educational career, he continually pursued his passion for art. Lim often went on excursions around Singapore and painted various landscapes. He notably enjoyed depicting Malay kampongs, which he constantly painted until they gradually were replaced by other urban developments. He then turned to old residential ethnic buildings in the city.
Lim Tze Peng participated actively in artist field trips with the Ten Men Group around the Southeast Asian region, especially during the 1960s and the 1970s. Lim's widely-known Bali series was created during such field trips, mostly in the 1970s and 1980s. The 1970s pieces are easily recognized by broad washes of gloom, glasslike ink, harmonized with looser compositions, whereas the 1980s paintings are characterized by brisk, cunning and accurate lines. Lim is also known for his Chinese ink paintings of Chinatown and the Singapore River, which he created at the beginning of the 1980s, when urban redevelopment focused on these two areas.
His first solo exhibition was held in 1970. Since then, he has exhibited his works widely, both in Singapore and abroad. The artist participated in many group exhibitions during the 1970s and 1980s around the world, including such countries as Russia, the United Kingdom, France, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Brunei. After his retirement from his teaching position in 1981, he entirely devoted himself to his art practice and started to gain recognition for his impressive output. His second solo show took place in 1991.
During the late 2000s, Lim produced his series of calligraphy "Muddled Writing". During this time his landscape paintings began to move away from his previous realist approach to a more contemporary expressionist style. He produced "Colour Calligraphy", which was rooted in the Chinese ink tradition but also involved the use of colour pigments, a practice uncommon in traditional Chinese calligraphy.
In 2009 Lim Tze Peng became the first Singaporean to have a solo exhibition at the National Art Museum of China. Lim also held a one-man exhibition "Tze Peng in Bali" at the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts that was held from April to May 2012. It featured 50 paintings of Bali, Indonesia, made over 30 years. In July 2012, he organized another solo exhibition titled "Lim Tze Peng’s Solo Exhibition: Black and White", at Ode To Art Marina Bay Sands Gallery. This show comprised of more than 20 paintings of Singapore made over the past 12 months.
In July 2014, the Lim Tze Peng Gallery was officially opened at Lim Tze Peng's alma mater, Chung Cheng High School. It was founded by Singapore prime minister Lee Hsien Loong. The artist donated over a hundred of his paintings, of which close to a hundred are corruntly exhibited in the gallery.
Singapore River Scenes VIII
Autumn Morning - Xu Hun
Singapore River V
The River Runs Red by Yue Fei
On an Autumn Night to Councillor Qiu by Wei Ying Wu
Chestnuts for Sale
The East Turns White as the Five Continents Look On
Grove of Trees
Boats on Balinese Shores
Longevity and Abundance
Old Singapore Scene
Climbing White Stork Mountain by Wang Zhi Huan
Autumn in the Mountains by Wang Wei
Shops by the Street
A Busy Day at Chinatown
Song of the Pipa Player by Bai Juyi
On Yueyang Tower by Du Fu
Singapore River (Four Boats)
As boundless as the seas and the skies
Sceneries in Li Jiang
"There is no way I can outdo calligraphers from the ancient times even if I practise calligraphy for another 100 years. They had no distractions and were able to concentrate purely on the art."
"I see and I paint, now it's I reflect and I paint."
"Build your foundations step by step the hard way, then you will be able to express yourself freely later [...] Inspiration doesn’t come from within naturally, it emerges from unceasing practice and hard work."
"When I think too much about painting or writing calligraphy, I can’t sleep well. Even when I’m sitting here, I’m thinking of it. When I lie down on my bed, I’m thinking of it!"
"Although I’m close to 100 years old, I want to make the best use of my time. I want to think more and innovate more."
Quotes from others about the person
Jazz Chong: "He’s a very important Chinese ink artist in Singapore; the oldest and probably the most prominent Singaporean artist alive. Because he has had so many years of practice, you see the evolution of his works."
Lim is married to Soh Siew Lay. They have six children.