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    Sale 2616

    Southeast Asian Modern and Contemporary Art

    30 November 2008, Hong Kong

  • Lot 410

    S SUDJOJONO (Indonesia 1914 - 1986)

    Draw and paint

    Price Realised  


    S SUDJOJONO (Indonesia 1914 - 1986)
    Draw and paint
    A volume of 19 sketches and drawings, each signed with artist's monogram and signed and dated again 'S. Sudjojono' 1969'
    watercolour and ink on paper
    10 5/8 x 14 3/8 in. (27 x 36.5 cm.)

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    Draw and paint is an exquisite single volume of 19 sketches attributed to S. Sudjojono, who is commonly acknowledged as the father of modern Indonesian painting for the important role he played in establishing and promoting the early development of Indonesian modern art.

    Started and completed within a single year, 1969, Draw and paint is an invaluable compilation done by the artist in his 50s; this period marks a quieter, more withdrawn existence for the painter. Daily life revolved closely around the family he built after his marriage with Rose Sudjojono in 1959. By the time Sudjojono began on this sketch album, the turbulent days of the mid-1960s political transition into the New Order period had just began to subside. Gone also by this time is the polemical Sudjojono who, as nationalist and revolutionary painter, adopted a distinct public persona championing for Indonesian modern art.

    An impressive range of subject matter marks this album; domestic scenes, portraits and personality studies, and outdoor urban sketches comprise the 19 leafs in the volume. The cover is carefully embellished with an arabesque design and simply titled 'Draw & Paint'. Gathered as one album, Draw and paint illustrates a consummate Sudjojono: as keen observer of daily reality, as passionate artist, as considerate husband to wife, as watchful father to his children.

    Amongst the domestic scenes, Cuci Pakaian (Washing Clothes) is an intimate view of Rose Sudjojono, revealed in side profile, doing laundry. The subject matter is commonplace and unremarkable but Sudjojono infuses much characteristic attention to the details of the scene. In other sketches, Rose is lying in bed sick and practicing on the piano. The latter sketch bears clear compositional reference to a painting done nine years earlier, Kisah Mawar (Story of Rose).

    The portraits and personality studies in this volume are some of the most detailed and accomplished seen. One such portrait is Meneer Tan (Mr Tan). Meneer is an archaic Indonesian term of address to European and westernized men. Meneer Tan is ethnic Chinese, and is posed in a debonair moment of deep thought, with a cigarette dangling from his long bony fingers. The portrait bears uncanny resemblance to Sudjojono himself - in several self-portraits and photographs taken of the artist, he is never seen without his smoking pipe.

    Yet another portrait, Tukang Kebun in Taman Senopati (Gardener in Senopati Garden), captures the image of an aged gardener. Senopati is a wealthy residential area in central Jakarta. Regardless of context, Sudjojono's reality, seen in his sketches and paintings, is the reality of the commonplace, the common man. The gardener is closely studied and vividly rendered in a state of repose, his fingers, aged with labour, splayed out on his knees for full visual effect.

    One of the most characteristic aspect of Sudjojono's sketches and drawings is the voluminous amount of written notes (catatan) inserted into his pictures. Draw and paint abounds with these catatan, documenting the artist's varied diaristic entries. For instance, in the leaf titled Kamar kerja, kamar tidur juga saja (Bedroom and studio), Sudjojono discloses that his painting studio doubles up as a bedroom if Rose is already sleeping in the master bedroom by the time he finishes working.

    Other sketches of note include an unusual rendition of a television programme of a gamelan (traditional Indonesian orchestra) ensemble. Sudjojono not only sketched the players but also the television set itself - this way, the picture is a wry commentary on how advances in media technology like the invention of the television has revolutionized the common person's everyday mode of reception.

    Pre-Lot Text

    Politicians could easily lie and say they are champions of the oppressed but the painter's brushes cannot lie, hij is de vinger-afdruk van den dief (they are like fingerprints of a thief)

    S. Sudjojono

    Quoted in Jim Supangkat, Sudjojono the Pioneer in Visible Soul, Museum S.Sudjojono and Galeri Canna, Jakarta, 2006, p. 255.