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Arie Smit
Arie Smit

Arie Smit
(Dutch, B. 1916)
Balinese Landscape
signed and dated 'Arie Smit '89' (lower right); inscribed '69/I/98' (on the stretcher)
acrylic on canvas
113 x 155 cm. (44 1/2 x 61 in.)
Painted in 1989

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Lot Essay

The art of Arie Smit is one that tells a story of finding belonging in a foreign land, the development of a distinctive style of artistic expression, and also of a legacy in Balinese art that continues until today. Arie Smit's involvement with the Topographical Service in Indonesia since the early 1940s allowed him to gain an in-depth knowledge and appreciation for the lush and varied landscapes of Indonesia. After his service to the events of the Second World War, Smit chose to remain in Indonesia, and eventually moved to Bali in 1956. It was here that his artistic endeavours became fully realised through an exposure to the landscapes of Bali that had inspired the efforts of the Indo-European painters like Walter Spies, Rudolf Bonnet, and Han Snel, that had come before him. Smit's stylized representation of the Balinese landscape that combines elements of impressionism and Gaugin-esque colour in turn inspired a generation of native Indonesian painters in the Young Artists style, as well as the contemporary painters of today, such as Paul Husner.

Balinese Landscape (Lot 146) is a triumphant example of Smit's desire to express the colours and essence of Bali. The style is vibrant and spontaneous - characteristic of the artist, and immediately evocative. Executed on a rare scale in the artist's oeuvre, this work is a true masterpiece and realization of Smit's artistic vision. Depicting the extensive rolling mountains that shape the topography of Bali, as well as the rice terraces that mark the imprint of man's respectful relationship with the land, Smit has captured a vast, but nevertheless intimate view of the land. As the setting sun throws a cool palette of greens and blues across the fertile lands, there is a sense of the contentment and calm that comes at the close of a day. From the quaint bridges and meandering paths that have been gently carved into the landscape, Smit expresses the tender appreciation for his home.

In View of Campuhan (Lot 147), Smit situates the viewer in the scenic hillsides by the Campuhan River in Ubud, Bali. Living in the village of Sanggingan, Smit had the privilege of sweeping views from his residence. His thick, iconic trees stand out against the golden hues of the lush hills, and the painting's warm palette suggest a midday reprieve. The distant skyline encourages a feeling of timelessness and boundlessness within the Balinese landscape, and is an exceptional and characteristic example from the artist's work.

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