The Behaviour of Western Artist's Materials in Tropical Environments
The Supply of 'Western' Art Materials in Malaya (Malaysia and the City of Singapore), the Philippines and Thailand
The arrival of 'Artists Coloumen' companies is an important historical demarcation that contributed to the use of Western artists' materials in Southeast Asia. The early art supply shops important to this study include the Malaysian Nanyang Book Company established in 1943 in Kuala Lumpur and Penang; Straits Commercial established in 1947 in the city of Singapore, EL82 established in 1882 in Manila as well as Enriquez Art Supply early in the 1900s; and Mohameds, who supplied the Royal Court, around the 1940s in Bangkok. They emerged when European and American 'Artists Coloumen' companies were active and Malaya, the Philippines, the City of Singapore and Thailand were becoming increasingly international in their focus. The supply of imported 'Artists Coloumen' materials, however would have been interrupted during the Second World War being an important demarcation in the selection of materials by artists.
Nineteen imported 'Artists Coloumen' stamps were recorded on the reverse of painting supports, backboards or auxiliary supports; these represent 9% of the examined works. Many of these artists had trained abroad or enjoyed the status and material conditions that allowed them to obtain such artist materials. Of these imported nineteen stamps, ten were identified in the Philippines, four in Singapore, two in Thailand and two in Malaysia. The larger number of Coloumen stamps on Filipino work examined is possibly linked to the fact that canvas painting practice in the Philippines has a longer history enabling a skills base to develop and foreign materials to be sought. This is also supported by the fact that three of the works with European 'Artists Coloumen' stamps in the Philippines were double stamped with a local supplier. The Filipino suppliers include El82, Arte (image 8) and La Paleta de Plata (image 9). Interestingly one work by Mohd. Hoessein Enas (1924-1995), an important Indonesian born Malaysian artist, was marked with a Joyo canvas stamp from Japan obviously relating to Japanese occupation of Malaya (image 10).
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