• Southeast Asian Modern and Con auction at Christies

    Sale 2721

    Southeast Asian Modern and Contemporary Art

    30 November 2009, Hong Kong

  • Lot 1198

    HENDRA GUNAWAN (Indonesia 1918-1983)

    Beauty combing her hair

    Price Realised  


    HENDRA GUNAWAN (Indonesia 1918-1983)
    Beauty combing her hair
    signed and dated 'Hendra '63' (lower centre)
    oil on canvas
    36¼ x 45¼ in. (92 x 115 cm.)

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    The omnipotence of colours in Hendra's works cannot be over-emphasized. While Affandi as an expressionist uses a fiery style of applying oil paint directly onto the canvas and the viewer is often impressed by the fervent energy transmitted by the physical movement of the artist; Hendra, as an expressionist, uses colours both symbolically and aesthetically.

    In this aspect, one can see the influence of traditional wayang kulit (Indonesian puppetry) as evidenced in Hendra's portrayal of exaggerated forms of side profiles of his sitters and also on the use of the colours - an influence which he derived from batik, the traditional Indonesian textile. The vivid colours from Batik that is transposed on his canvas with an unprecedented purity offers an infinitely subtle and flexible alternative to the traditional massings of light and shade.

    The present work, Beauty combing her hair, presents a more sober palette in comparison to the artist's later works which are brighter and more vibrant in hue. Nevertheless, the riotous treatment of colours is still detectable with the multiple nuances of shades on the batik dressing of the sitter. Contrasting bright and profound shades is his technique to heighten the drama of his canvas. The sitter whose elegant pose accentuates the curvaceous figure of a woman, feminine and sexual, makes her the subject of awe and admiration.


    Acquired from Duta Fine Arts Foundation, Jakarta by the present owner in 1986.


    Jakarta, Oet's Gallery, 1985