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ARIE SMIT (Dutch, B. 1916)
ARIE SMIT (Dutch, B. 1916)

Pura (Temple)

Details
ARIE SMIT (Dutch, B. 1916)
Pura (Temple)
signed 'arie' (lower right)
oil on canvas
101 x 88 cm. (39 3/4 x 34 5/8 in.)
Provenance
Anon. sale; Christie's Singapore, 18 May 1998, Lot 19
Private Collection, Asia (acquired at the above sale by the present owner)

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Eric Chang
Eric Chang

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Lot Essay

Born in Zaandam in the Netherlands in 1916, Arie Smit studied design at the Academy of Arts in Rotterdam and came to Bali in 1956. Once he found Bali, Smit has never left and continued to paint the landscape, temples and culture of Bali as he has done since the 1950s. Smit often experiments with his style to show refreshing new views of familiar scenes, and although the Iura, or temple gate, is the leitmotif in his works, each Iura picture retains its originality and freshness of perspective.

Iura is an early evocative work of the artist. Shifting light condition is of great interest to an artist, especially artists in the tropics who paint under the strong light of the tropical sun. It is no different for Arie Smit. He has spent the larger part of his artistic career trying to capture what has been described as the 'riotous light in Bali'. The artist has developed what he terms the technique of broken colours, where he applies mosaic-like stipples of paint, each brushstroke building upon the previous while not completely covering the layer underneath. This is seen most clearly in Iura, where blue, green and zesty orange colours come together in a wonderfully concocted mlange of colours to portray a sense of strong sunlight breaking through the tropical foliage of Bali.
Smit's stylised representation of the Balinese landscape combines elements of Impressionism and Gauguin-esque colours. This in turn inspired a generation of native Indonesian painters in the young artist's style, as well as the contemporary Bali-based painters of today.

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