Lim, Cheng Hoe (1912–1979) By Galloway, Charlotte
Born in China, Lim Cheng Hoe moved to Singapore with his parents in 1919. Acknowledged as a notable early Singaporean artist, he showed artistic talent at an early age. In contrast to many of his contemporaries, he embraced Western art aesthetics, and was influenced by his early art teacher, the realist painter Richard Walker. Lim was greatly interested in painterly styles, and always strived to improve his own techniques. He is renowned for his excellent drawing skills, works in pastel, and watercolors. In 1969 he became a founding member of the Singapore Watercolour Society. His art practice was a passionate pastime while his work and family took precedence.
Lim’s best-known paintings are of river scenes; he and a group of his contemporaries became known as the Singapore River Artists. Lim is also known as a portraitist. His artworks attract a strong following among collectors and are skillful renditions of Singaporean life, depicting its people going about their daily routines and the natural world around them, and straddling the transition from a traditional society to a modern one. Lim’s works are held in a number of institutional collections including the National Heritage Board Singapore and National University of Singapore Museum.