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signed, inscribed, and dated 'Arie Smit Bali 1980' (lower left)
acrylic on canvas
65 x 85 cm. (25 5/8 x 33 1/2 in.)
Painted in 1980
Sutedja Neka and Drs. Sudarmaji, Arie Smit, Koes Artbooks, Bali, Indonesia, 1995 (illustrated, p. 74).
Agus Dermawan T., Arie Smit: Hikayat Luar Biasa Tentara Penembak Cahaya, Kepustakaan Populer Gramedia, Indonesia, 2016 (illustrated, p. 189).

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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 in 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. 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.

Christie's has brought together the following collection of works in celebration of his centennial year. Additionally, The Rice Fields (Lot 541), White Temple Gate (Lot 542), Pura (Lot 543) and Temple At Mengwi (Lot 547) come from the pristine collection of Maxae Kersten, who was a close friend of Arie Smit during the time that she and her family resided in Indonesia from the late 1950s to the 1960s. One of her daughters even learnt painting under Smit's tutelage for a time. Painted during the 1960s, these remarkably fresh works are a reflection of Smit's artistic maturity and confidence at the time, and are executed in a more obviously impressionistic style that preceded the pointillism characteristic of his later works.

During the 1970s, Smit introduced thicker and more vertical brush strokes in his works that relayed a latent energy to his compositions, as can be seen in Blue Landscape (Lot 546). Two years later, Smit produced Shrines in the Temple (1980) where he furthered his experimentations with the blending and layering of colour. The resultant effect captured the dappled sunshine coming through the tropical foliage, and would manifest in an ever-increasing vibrancy in his works.

Roadside Temple (Lot 545) and Temple on the Hills (Lot 544) are rendered in the artist's signature style depicting the relationship between man, nature and the distinctive architecture and landscape of Bali. Composed from bright spots of paint, the works thrive with a pulsing vitality. Representative of the style that Smit would continue for the rest of his life, the works present Smits inimitable use of colours to evoke emotion rather than to express reality. Smit intentions were to bring about a dream-like and poetic realism – his colours do not clash but live in harmony, and his lines are not used to separate, but unite.

A master of colour and composition, Smit's works are filled with rhythm and an exuberant energy. Arie Smit's legacy will persist through his art that encapsulated his love for the landscape and people of Bali.

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