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ARIE SMIT (INDONESIA, 1916-2016)
ARIE SMIT (INDONESIA, 1916-2016)

Padi Terrace

Details
ARIE SMIT (INDONESIA, 1916-2016)
Padi Terrace
signed, dated and inscribed 'Arie Smit .Bali. 1979' (lower right)
oil on canvas laid on board
117.5 x 79 cm. (46 1/4 x 31 1/8 in.)
Painted in 1979
Provenance
Acquired directly from the artist in Bali, 1979
Private Collection, Germany

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Lot Essay

'I admired the sunlight that kept on spreading throughout the tropical Balinese land, always reflecting all kinds of colours. I decided that I had to create multicoloured paintings.' - ARIE SMIT

Arie Smit is known today as one of the great colourists of Bali, a painter whose brilliant works are composed of a myriad short dabs and strokes of harmonious colours. Highly regarded for his paintings inspired by the life and land of Bali—fertile rice fields, vast valleys and mountain ranges, temple courtyards and the ocean are all favoured subjects—Smit's tantalising works have an immense appeal that reflects the soul of a lover of this tropical paradise.

Traditional Balinese architectural elements such as the candi bentar spilt gateway, the kori main gateway of houses and temples, or even entire pura (temple) complexes are often featured within Smit's images, starting from the 1970s. Tall singular temple-gateways are surrounded by lush vegetation, for example in Lot 506, Temple in the Forest (painted in 1974) and Lot 507, Peaceful Pura in the Morning (painted in 1971). Distinct temple gateways are set amidst a landscape of undulating hills and swaying trees. Lot 507, with its predominating use of blues and turquoise, is contrasted with the temple's pink and yellow hues along with glimpses of white. In this harmonious vision, rendered in a two-dimensional perspective delineated with linear highlights and broad patches of colour, the temple glimmers radiantly as it stands out from the painting's darker background, a stunning image of a venerated place of worship.
The artist's most recent works dating from the 1990s represent a part of his later artistic period, where renditions of idyllic Bali landscapes are composed using the shades of the Fauvists with controlled dashes reminiscent of a Pointillist technique. Paintings such as Lot 509, Night Sky and Flooded Rice Terraces (painted in 1996) and Lot 508, Fertile Hills of Bali (painted in 2000) do not reflect realist depictions of the natural environment, but are rather, interpretative, dreamy renditions that convey the painter's mood in response to the atmosphere of the scenery. The swirling sky in shades of yellow, green and blue in Fertile Hills of Bali imagines a glorious sunny day amongst the pastoral beauty of Bali, whilst the coolness of the night is manifest in the soothing and meditative depiction of rice terraces under a dappled evening sky.

However, the fertile land and lush vegetation as also seen through the gentle sunrise over a panoramic view of fields and hills in Lot 505, Padi Terrace (1979), is not the only source of beauty in Bali for Smit. The artist also draws poetic inspiration from seascapes, featuring them quits prominently in his body of work as well. In Lot 510, By the Beach (1986), Smit observes the rising and falling of waves rolling and unfurling on the beach, backed by a moving sky awash with stunning shades of cerulean and sky blue, indicating a clear and unclouded sky on a fine-weather day. The signs of life and activity in the small canoes resting on the bright yellow shore, as well as glimpses of a serene mountain tucked into the distance, comes together in a tranquil depiction of the divine grandeur of Nature and its relationship between man and the distinctive landscape of Bali.

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