Overview of the sale of traditional, modern and contemporary art in Larasati Bali – art & culture
Richard Hortsman (The Jakarta Post)
Fri 30 April 2021
A fascinating aspect of Balinese art is the way Indonesia’s first president, Sukarno (1901-1970), used images of Bali as a powerful political tool. A passionate art collector whose mother was Balinese, Sukarno adopted images inherited from colonial times to integrate Bali into the modern Indonesian state. Symbols of beauty, peace and harmony, Balinese paintings went on to represent the new nation on the international geopolitical scene during the 1950s.
Works ranked by the Ubud School of Painting as the most famous Balinese art genre are featured in the upcoming Larasati Bali Traditional, Modern and Contemporary Art Sale in Ubud on Saturday. Some of the renowned artists included in the sale are Ida Bagus Made Poleng, Ida Bagus Nadera, Gusti Ketut Kobot and her brother Gusti Made Mangku Baret. Ida Bagus Rai, Anak Agung Gde Meregeg, the unique innovator Dewa Putu Mokoh (1934-2010), as well as the famous Dutch artists Willem Gerard Hofker and Arie Smit.
Starting at 3 p.m. Saturday, 40 works of art go under the hammer at the Larasati Bali Art Space at Tebesaya Gallery, Tebesaya, Ubud.
A virtual exhibition, open from April 23 to Saturday, offers a friendly overview of the sale within a digital space, allowing close observation and varied perspectives as if one were walking in a gallery. The sale features various mediums and genres of painting, from lush tropical landscapes and harvests of golden rice fields, to Balinese village and mythological scenes, as well as works in a range of prices suitable for those with limited funds, to collectors. intermediate and advanced.
For enthusiasts who want to start collecting on a budget, the following works offer good buying opportunities, especially if purchased within their estimated prices. Limited edition posters of the iconic Bali, printed in the Netherlands by one of the most famous European artists to visit and work in Bali, Hofker (1902-1981), are for sale.
Lot 701, Ni Gusti Njoman Klépon, 30 centimeters by 22 cm, and Lot 702, Ryst Veld Achter Ons Huis Op Ubud, Bali, which measures 32cm by 23cm, are in good condition, framed and are estimated to be priced between Rp 3 million (US $ 208) and Rp 5 million.
Then there is lot 709, Bima fights the beast by Dewa Ketut Ding (1920-1996), acrylic on canvas 58 cm by 38 cm, estimated to cost between Rp 6 million and Rp 10 million. Also, Lot 729, Upacara Potong Gigi, by Made Tubuh (born 1941 in Ubud), acrylic on canvas measuring 42 cm by 66 cm, has an estimated price of Rp 4-6 million.
For buyers with an intermediate budget, the following works are interesting.
First there is lot 710, The battle of Kurusetra, who is from one of the first generation painters of the famous artist collective Pita Maha founded in Ubud (1936-1942), Anak Agung Gde Meregeg (1908 / 1912-2000). The 66cm by 100cm acrylic on canvas composition features mythological figures depicting the forces of darkness against light and is estimated to be priced between Rp 40million and Rp 50million.
A windswept background combined with the dynamic movement of traditional dancers perfectly captures the movement and energy that describes the visible and invisible worlds of Bali.
Lot 734, Kecak Dance Performing Rama and Shinta, is an acrylic work on canvas 50 cm by 39 cm by Nyoman Kayun (born in 1954 in Peliatan, Ubud). This beautiful animated image has an estimated price between Rp38million and Rp48million. Lot 737, Pandawa dalam Pengasingan by Ida Bagus Rai (1933 – 2007), is acrylic on canvas, 76 cm by 58 cm and has an estimated value between Rp 15 million and Rp 20 million.
For connoisseurs of Balinese painting, the following works are interesting. Iconic Dutch colourist and longtime Bali resident Arie Smit (1916-2016) is renowned for his stylistic interpretations of village and landscape scenarios. Lot 723, Pemandangan Laut, 2006, however, is one of its rare seascapes. The acrylic composition on canvas measuring 42 cm by 49 cm, dominated by blues describing the sky and the sea, is signed and dated lower right; inscribed, signed and dated on the back and has an estimated value between Rp 75 million and Rp 85 million. The work is accompanied by a certificate of authenticity signed by the artist.
Paintings by Ida Bagus Made Poleng (1915-1999), celebrated as one of the most important Balinese painters of the 20e-th century, are very popular with collectors. Lot 710, Barong Dance Performing Calonarang, is an acrylic composition on canvas measuring 64 cm by 56 cm of balance and precision, describing drama and conflict. The lower left corner represents a performer of the sacred purification ceremony disguised as a monkey. He brazenly tries the Barong (mythological creature resembling a panther) with a banana. Immediately to the right, in direct contrast, another performer is overwhelmed by the spell of Rangda, the wicked witch, and is shown stabbing himself with the ceremonial kris.
Lot 710, “The Battle of Kurusetra”, Anak Agung Gde Meregeg. Acrylic on canvas, 66 centimeters by 100 cm. (JP / Courtesy of the Larasati auctioneers)
The top half of the roster is also complete with high drama. As the eye of the beholder is drawn in a circular motion around the image, the visual stimulus, from dramatic to peaceful, represents the duality of life. The painting has a strong provenance. It was purchased directly from the artist in the 1960s and was previously part of the collection of Leonard Mattson, UNESCO Ambassador to Indonesia in the 1960s. Lot 740 has an estimated value of between 300 million and 400 million by Rp.
Other works of interest in the sale are lot 726, Sore Suasana, by Ni Gusti Agung Galuh. The most prominent Balinese woman painter in a beautiful and highly technical landscape style in oil on canvas was the pioneer of renowned Bali cultural expert and multi-talented creative German, Walter Spies (1895-1942). The 60cm by 80cm composition depicting the beautiful late afternoon ambience of lush tropical Bali is estimated to be priced between Rp 32million and Rp 42million.
Nyoman Wirdana (born 1976 in Tejakula, north Bali) is an artist of extraordinary talent who, unfortunately, remains virtually unknown. His amazingly technically accurate oil paintings take up to 18 months and are rarely available on the aftermarket. One of the rare contemporary works offered during the sale is lot 713, Ganesh Samara, 2011, which measures 128 cm by 160 cm. This beautiful composition in fluid organic and floral shapes with minimal green coloring creating a powerful visual contrast with the dominant shades of reddish pink, has an estimated value between Rp 15 million and Rp 20 million.
The story of the Rajapala describes a young hunter who, while wandering in the forest, meets a group of heavenly nymphs bathing in a stream. Rajapala steals the shawl from one of the beauties, so she can’t go home and he can make her his wife. One of the most famous accounts of Balinese folklore is reinterpreted by Gusti Made Mangku Baret (1920-2012). Lot 738, Rajapala Mencuri Selendang Bidadari, 1983, has an estimated value of between Rp 20 million and Rp 30 million.
Potential buyers bidding over the phone, absent bidders or real-time internet bidders are encouraged to contact Larasati and inquire about the accuracy of the color reproduction of the images in the online catalog to ensure that what they want to buy can be realistically assessed. The absence of a reference to the condition of a lot in the catalog description does not imply that the lot is free from defects or imperfections; therefore, work status reports describing the current state of the paintwork and whether there are any repairs or repaints are available on request.
Provenance, the historical data of the previous owner of the work, is also important and is provided. An informational guide is provided before the auction, during the auction and after the auction, detailing trade terms, the bidding process, payment, storage and insurance, and shipping the work. A buyer’s premium is payable by the buyer of each lot at the rate of 22 percent of the auction price of the lot. The online catalog, along with a guide for potential buyers, is available to the public and should be carefully considered by anyone wishing to participate in this auction.
All of the works offered in the online list include a brief status report compiled by Larasati based on his observation of the work. Larasati specialists are not professional restorers; therefore, they suggest that the potential buyer consult their own restaurateur for a more in-depth professional report. Larasati emphasizes that the works must be seen personally by professional advisers before the sale to assess the conditions of the work.
Preview of the virtual exhibition online until Saturday.
Physical preview at Larasati Bali Art Space:
April 30: 11 am-6pm
May 1: 11 a.m. – 2 p.m.
The live auction, open to the public, begins at 3 p.m.
Larasati Bali Art Space
at the Tebesaya gallery
Jl. Jatayu, Banjar Tebesaya, Peliatan, Ubud
Gianyar, Bali 80571 Indonesia
All visitors to the Larasati Bali Art Space are required to wear face masks.