(Dutch, 1895-1978)
Man with Headdress
inscribed, signed and dated 'Prabo Balisch Dansen ALS Radja R. Bonnet 1970' (lower left)
chalk and pastel on paper
61 x 52.5 cm. (24 x 20 7/8 in.)
Executed in 1970

Lot Essay

Rudolf Bonnet's preoccupation with capturing the presence of his Balinese sitters was a concern that stretched across his artistic career, and is evident in the present selection of works of paper that were produced during key moments of Bonnet's protracted time spent living amongst the people of Bali. Through his expressive shading and subtle use of colour, Bonnet developed a characteristic style in depicting his subjects that approximated the precision and clarity of portraiture from the Italian Renaissance.

A work demonstrating artistic maturity and confidence, Man with Headdress (Lot 7094) brings us towards the end of Bonnet's life where he was focused on the establishment of a museum in Ubud to preserve his own artistic legacy from the pre-war Pita Maha period. Bonnet has chosen to focus on the sitter's profile, emphasising the intricate detail of the ritual headdress. Bonnet succeeds in representing the quiet elegance of the sitter. Above all, Bonnet desired his art to be a means of preserving the Balinese culture in its highest classical state, and his devotion to this ambition is most evidently seen within the refined and measured style of his portraiture. Portrait of a Lady (Lot 7095) demonstrates a similar tendency; where the portrayal of the sitter elevates her importance by emphasising a certain regal and nobility in her deportment.

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