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

Community Work in the Temple

ARIE SMIT (Indonesian, 1916-2016)
Community Work in the Temple
signed and dated 'Arie Smit 1992' (lower left); signed, titled and dated 'Community work in the temple/oil/arie smit/Bali '92' (on the reverse)
oil on canvas
70.5 x 96 cm. (27 3/4 x 37 3/4 in.)
Painted in 1992
Private Collection, Indonesia
Amir Sidharta, Vibrant: Arie Smit, Hexart Publishing, Jakarta, Indonesia, 2002 (illustrated, pp. 1.10, 4.323).
Sutedja Neka and Drs. Sudarmaji, Arie Smit, Koes Artbooks, Bali, Indonesia, 1995 (illustrated, p. 193).

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Lot Essay

In memory of Arie Smit (1916-2016)

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

Celebrating the life and work of Arie Smit in the Centennial year of the artist, Christie’s is proud to present a selection of representative works from Smit’s artistic journey in creating vivid portrayals of Bali, his second home and main source of inspiration as an artist. Dutch-born Indonesian artist Arie Smit first heard about the island of Bali as an island full of wonders through the seductive tales of his schoolmates. His later career as a lithographer brought him to Indonesia during the Dutch colonial era, and he was enraptured by the peoples and landscapes of Bali that seemed to present an idyllic and untouched culture. He would eventual come to call Bali his home for the rest of his life, and it was in Bali that he tirelessly honed and perfected his art.
Smit was dedicated to capturing the daily aspects of Balinese life, the lush landscapes of its tropical terrain, and its unique ancient architecture of ruins and temples. Through the strokes of his impressionistic brush, and the lively colours of his palette, Smit’s work is a testament to his love for Bali and his ability as an artist to extract and convey his feelings through his art.

Landscape in Bali reveals the influence of Smit’s skills at lithography as he delineates elements in his paintings with simple lines while simultaneously creating depth to bring focus to his subjects. Temple and Greenery Glow at Front Gate showcase pivotal stages in Smit’s stylistic development, displaying his interest in achieving different effects of light through the layering of vivid colours in his paintings. From the 1960s onwards, Smit’s artistic approach was rooted in creating remarkably imaginative collages of various key symbols and motifs which he reassembled in various compositions. Smit would sketch his subjects on location, while at the same time selecting and eliminating elements according to his aesthetic perception. Community Work in the Temple, Landscape with the Evening, Returning Home before Dark, and Pura di Bali (Balinese Temple) are examples of Smit’s more mature style and nuanced sensitivity to light. His distinctive multicoloured style of pointillism create expressive patterns, evoking a sense of depth and providing a different ambience through each composition. Gladiolas, is an exceptionally rare work from Smit’s oeuvre, demonstrating Smit’s outstanding artistic skill as he produced a close study of the local flora found in Bali. The use of soft pastel tones and close perspective of the composition are hallmarks of the artist’s earlier works. Having spent time studying and painting the flora and fauna of Bali in detail such as in Gladiolas allowed Smit to then embark on his unique brand of abstraction and composition that ensure his enduring legacy as one of the masters of modern art in Indonesia.

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