• Southeast Asian Modern and Con auction at Christies

    Sale 2721

    Southeast Asian Modern and Contemporary Art

    30 November 2009, Hong Kong

  • Lot 1193

    AFFANDI (Indonesia 1907-1990)

    Pohon zaitun (Olive trees)

    Price Realised  


    AFFANDI (Indonesia 1907-1990)
    Pohon zaitun (Olive trees)
    signed and dated 'AF/1954' (lower left)
    oil on canvas
    40 x 47¼ in. (102 x 120 cm.)

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    Sudjojono wrote, "Painting is not only related to the conventional values of that sort. A pair of old shoes and Hamengku Buwono VII (the king of Yogyakarta). And the banks of the Ciliwung river (smelly waterway running through the center of Jakarta) and the scenery of the Bromo mountains (a cool attractive area with beautiful scenery) are all the same. What gives value to the painting is not convention, but the soul of the painter." (Jim Supangkat, "The Emergence of Indonesia Modern Art" in Indonesia Modern Art and Beyond, The Indonesia Fine Arts Foundation, 1997, p. 32.).

    Affandi took this further with his fervent brush strokes, inundating his subjects with such emotions that every work screams out the personality of the artist. His original, rather conventional and realistic style gradually morphed into one of the distortion and deformation in the 1950s. While Sudjojono's rhetoric had a great impact on him, it would be a gross simplification to say his artistic style was a direct consequence of the modernist movement. Rather, Sudjojono's words confirmed Affandi's budding tendency towards expressionism.

    The present lot is a fine example of the artist's expressionistic style. In his ingenious and original way, Affandi chooses to accentuate the strength of the trees, depicting them with a deftness that is almost just an outlining of the subjects but nevertheless powerful and convincing. It is observed that "[i]n addition to the sun, Affandi is also interested in trees as the symbols of the life-force, such as the Orange tree in Tawangmangu, the apple tree in Holland, and the Olive tree in Italy." (Helena Spanjaard, "Affandi In Europe" in Affandi Volume IIIi, Bina Lestari Budaya Foundation, Jakarta & Singapore Art Museum, Singapore, 2007, p. 131.) Symbol as a life-force indeed; thence the work is imbued with a sense of vivacity, with the apparent swirling brush strokes on the canvas which in spite of the passing time, looks almost as fresh as they were newly applied.


    Sardjana Sumichan (ed.), Affandi Volume III, Bina Lestari Budaya Foundation, Jakarta & Singapore Art Museum, Singapore, 2007, p. 97 & 109 (illustrated twice in colour).