Item description for Pioneers of Balinese Painting: The Collection of Rudolf Bonnet by Helena Spanjaard...
* Offers a unique opportunity to discover the most important pioneers of modern Balinese painting * Abundantly illustrated
The Balinese works of art featured in this catalogue were collected between 1929 and 1958 by the Dutch artist Rudolf Bonnet (1895--1978) while he lived and worked in the Balinese village Ubud. Bonnet befriended the prince of Ubud, Cokorda Gede Agung Sukawati (d. 1978) and lived in the palace grounds in Ubud during his early years on Bali. For centuries the kings of Ubud were the protectors and patrons of architecture, sculpture, painting, dance and music. Ubud was one of the areas renowned for the development of modern Balinese painting from the 1930s.
The works in this catalogue are arranged according to four geographical areas: Tampaksiring (Chapter I), Ubud (Chapters II and III), Batuan (Chapter IV) and Sanur (Chapter V). The specific characteristics, style and content of the works by artists from these towns and villages are examined.
The Leiden University collection of modern Balinese art supplements the permanent exhibition of similar works in the Puri Lukisan Museum in Ubud, which were also selected by Rudolf Bonnet. Both are featured in this book.
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the different streams of modern Balinese painting Feb 14, 2008
The date given for the beginnings of modern Balinese painting is 1930. Rudolf Bonnet collected the paintings in this book from then until the early 1950s when he and other Dutch nationals were ordered to leave by the postcolonial Indonesian government. His collection of 127 modern Balinese paintings he took with him was sold and ended up at the National Museum of Ethnology in Leiden, Netherlands. Sixty of the paintings are pictured.
Bonnet was deeply involved in Balinese painting as an artist, friend of Indonesian art patrons and artists, and critic urging that Balinese art keep in touch with its roots as it was inevitably being affected by the modernized, outside world because of increased tourism and anthropological interest in Balinese culture. As Balinese artists developed innovative styles and sought sources and models outside their own culture, Bonnet urged them to look to the art of other Asian lands such as India, China, and also Persia. Bonnet's ideal for Balinese painting can be summed up with "ornamentation and simplicity".
Spanjaard is a Dutch art historian with a special interest in modern and contemporary Indonesian painting. Starting with the role of Bonnet in publicizing and influencing this Balinese painting, including his involvement in the founding of the Pita Maha Foundation in 1936, she follows the development of modern Balinese painting stylistically and geographically, with regular mention of particular artists. A part of the author's approach is also critical in that she points out features of particular paintings, relates an artist's intentions, explains a subject, and identifies religious and cultural figures. The word "elegance" is brought up a few times to define the stylistic character and impart the effects of Balinese painting; a term also used by Bonnet in his appreciation of the painting.
To the untutored Westerner, Balinese painting with its somewhat elongated, distorted forms (reminding this reviewer somewhat of El Greco's figures), unmindfulness of strict perspective, and crowded, colorful scenes seem so foreign, exotic, and busy that one does not know what to make of them...not know how to react to them. But with Spanjaard's text and the many related Balinese paintings, one comes to see that elegance appropriately sums up this Balinese art. There is a formality, though different from the static formality of Western art; and there is an attachment to the culture by a complexity and immediacy of feeling that make perspective arbitrary and of minor value in expression.