Affandi (1907–1990)

A master of evoking form with a few swirls of paint, Indonesian painter Affandi’s work is immediately recognisable due to his own style of expressionism. His depiction of relatable subjects through powerful imagery cemented him as one of the most important painters in the pioneering generation of modern Indonesian painters, and this reputation remains today.

At a time when it was difficult to overcome the conventional attitudes of society towards artistic challenges of nudity, Affandi broke the conventions of the time. It was only during his period of travel in America when he was a painting lecturer at Ohio State University from 1962 that he found a more liberal environment to explore this subject further. It was in this period where Affandi began to develop his unique style within expressionism. He applied paint directly from the tube with his fingers creating quick, unfaltering swirls of paint that fill his canvases and gives his art a sense of immediacy and freshness as he captured his scenes and subjects.

Affandi was a particular favourite of art collector Ambassador Josias Leao (Ambassador of Brazil to Indonesia). He worked at a time of political upheaval in Indonesia with them seeking independence. It was through art that Affandi immortalised his subjects within this cultural context of seeking a pan-Indonesian Identity.

In 1974 he received an Honorary Doctorate degree from the University of Singapore, and the Bintang Jasa Utama in recognition of his outstanding contribution to Indonesia from President Soeharto two years later. Affandi passed away 1990 and was buried outside his museum in Yogyakarta.

Anak Agung Gde Sobrat (1912-1992)

Sobrat’s art was inspired by his experiences in his youth. He was exposed to art such as shadow puppet performances and sacred dances at village temples at a very young age. He learned to make shadow puppets from his grandfather. He was lucky enough to be introduced to German arties Spies, who was thought to be the agent of change for the modernisation of Balinese art. Sobrat lived and worked with Spies for a year and learned western style painting from him. Taught at Academy of Fine Arts in Yogyakarta 1957-1959. He is particularly noted for the many portraits he produced of his daughter, in addition to his numerous shadow style paintings he produced in his early career before 1930.

Ida Bagus Made Poleng (1915-1999), Balinese painter

Ida Bagus Made Poleng was born in Tebasaya in 1915. He first learnt painting and carving from his father, Ida Bagus kembeng (1897-1952) who was a welknown painter who won the prestigious Silver Medal in 1937 at the International Colonial Art Exposition in Paris. Poleng later studied painting under the guidance of Rudolf Bonnet who once wrote that Ida Bagus Made was one of the most gifted artists in Bali.

Poleng had a distinct hatred and dislike towards art dealers and collectors. He scrutinized his admirers and only several collectors passed his test. The late Indonesian President Sukarno was one of such collectors that Poleng honoured with his work. His works are displayed worldwide in many museums and are highly sought after.

He passed away 1999 after a long illness and left more than 100 paintings and sketches in the possession of the Puri Lukisan Museum.

Nyoman Masriadi (1973- )

Masiradi’s is one of SouthEast Asia’s leading contemporary painters of the post-Suharto era in Indonesia. Born in Bali, he studied in the 1990s at Institut Seni in Yogyakarta. He excelled, but refused to graduate knowing that teachers would seek favours from him in the form of his paintings to permit him to graduate.

His work is laced in satirical humour and overwhelms the viewer with his wit and always clever composition to create an intriguing pictoral narrative. Indeed his inventiveness as a painter with the apparent impossibility of such scenes he creates is where his popularity and intrigue surrounding him stems from.

Painting in the particular social and political context of 1990s Indonesia, he conveys a deeper story as he captures both the spirit and psyche of today’s society. The emotions he portrays in his work are indiciative of Masiradi’s cultural sensitivity and sharp humour.

Although certainly for a particular taste, Masiradi has been credited with worldwide popularity at prestigious auctions.

Examples of this include:

The Man From Bantul – selling at Sotheby’s, Hong Kong, for HK$7,82 million. The sale of this work, a triptych conveying the resolve of the human spirit, marked a record for a contemporary Southeast Asian art piece at auction. It sold for about five times its estimated price.


Attack from Website – This painstakingly rendered commentary on the art world and art practices of the 21st century sold for US$935,844 at Christie’s Hong Kong as a lot in their Asian 20th Century and Contemporary Art (Evening Sale) on May 25th, 2013
Fatman – At Christie’s first auction in Shanghai, Masriadi’s mixed-media piece Fatman, was sold for US$757,547, the highest price ever paid for a similar sized work of the artist.

Jago Kandang – Sold at Sotheby’s (Singapore) for US$370,668. It is ranked number 1 in Sotheby’s Top Ten Contemporary Southeast Asian Paintings according to C-Arts Asian Contemporary Arts and Culture Magazine, Vol.03 2008

Jangan Tanya Saya Tanya Presiden (Don’t Ask Me, Ask The President) – was expected to sell for up to $25,000 in 2007. In the end, a Southeast Asian collector paid SGD$360,000 (HK$1,854,000) for it, setting a world record price for a Masriadi painting.

Mochtar Apin (1923–1994)

Apin’s reputation should be better known than is the current memory of him. He was co-founder of the Gelanggang Seniman Muda (Arena of Independent Artists) movement in Jarkarta in 1946 and a member of the Bandung School. He advocated a universalist ideal for culture, advocating the creation of art concerns that could communicate to people of all backgrounds. He was well travelled and from 1951 to 1959, he took the initiative to journey around Europe looking at art and visiting museums. With such knowledge, Apin was well versed to debate on the role of art in Indonesia.

Recent exhibitions include august-september 2013 at NUS Museum.

His Les Amoureux de Paris sold at auction at Christie’s, Hong Kong, for HK$137,500 in May 2012.