Today’s Google Doodle commemorates the 91st anniversary of Singapore pioneer artist Georgette Chen’s first exhibition at the Salon d’Automne in Paris.

First-generation Singaporean painter Georgette Chen, a key figure of modern art here and pioneer of the post-impressionist Nanyang-style art movement, has been honoured in a Google Doodle—the fun changes the tech giant makes to its logo to commemorate holidays, anniversaries and the lives of famous artists, pioneers and scientists—the first featuring a Singaporean female artist. 

It was on this day in 1930 that Chen made her debut at the prestigious Salon d’Automne‚ the annual Parisian showcase of innovative 20th-century painting including those by Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse and Paul Cézanne, which signalled the start of her illustrious career as an artist.

Born in Zhejiang, China, Chen grew up in Paris, where her father was an antiques dealer. She received her arts education in New York, Paris and Shanghai, and travelled frequently throughout China. It was this exposure to various cultures that would eventually shape her artistic practice.

Read also: Why This Couple’s Art Collection Consists of Paintings by Pioneering Singapore Artists

She moved to Singapore in the 1950s, where taught at the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts until 1981. A year later, she was conferred the Cultural Medallion, the country’s highest honour for the arts.

Renowned for her refined brushwork, which infused a dreamlike quality to her oil paintings, Chen was one of the founders of the Nanyang style of painting—integrating Western and Chinese styles and techniques to depict Asian subjects and themes—alongside artists Cheong Soo Pieng, Chen Wen Hsi and Liu Kang.

Some of her most significant works include Self Portrait (1946), Family Portrait (1954), Still Life: Moon Festival Table (1968) and Lotus in a Breeze (1970).

The Google Doodle artwork takes inspiration from Chen’s Nanyang style, apparent in the depiction of elements such as a basket of rambutan, an easel, a dried chilli plant, a bitter melon and a teapot. 

Her works are available to view on the Google Arts and Culture platform, which seeks to make the world’s art and culture accessible to everyone.

In case you missed it: Cheong Soo Pieng: 4 Things to Know About the Singapore Pioneer Artist and His Ink Paintings

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