AFFANDI (1907-1990)
AFFANDI (1907-1990)
AFFANDI (1907-1990)
2 More
AFFANDI (1907-1990)


AFFANDI (1907-1990)
signed with artist's monogram and dated '1965' (lower right); gallery label affixed (on the reverse)
oil on canvas
130 x 100 cm. (51?1/8 x 39?3/8 in.)
Painted in 1965
Edwin Gallery, Jakarta, 1997
Private Collection, Asia (acquired from the above by the present owner)
Sardjana Sumichan (ed.), Bina Lestari Budaya Foundation Jakarta and Singapore Art Museum, Affandi, vol. 1, Jakarta, 2007 (illustrated, plate 31, p. 106).
Galeri Semarang and American Express Bank Jakarta, Imagined Affandi, exh. cat., Jakarta, Gedung Arsip Nasional, 2007 (illustrated, p. 37).
Irsan Suryadji, Musee d’irsan, Affandi Dalam Kenangan, Jakarta (illustrated, p. 21-22).
Jakarta, Gedung Arsip Nasional, Galeri Semarang and American Express Bank Jakarta, Imagined Affandi, 7 - 14 June 2007.

Brought to you by

Jacky Ho (何善衡)
Jacky Ho (何善衡) Senior Vice President, Deputy Head of Department

Lot Essay

The distinguished Indonesian Maestro, Affandi, is known for executing vibrant brushstrokes and ‘painting from the tube’. This is especially apparent in his work Self-portrait offered this Autumn season at Christie’s Hong Kong. It is presented in auction for the first time and it is a remarkable work for its great condition.

Affandi believed his self-portraits to be windows to his soul. The dynamism behind the lines, and the distortion in the images is reminiscent of self-portraits by Rembrandt and Francis Bacon. Late Indonesian sociologist and writer Umar Kayam commented that “ It is quite amazing to see a painter so tirelessly paint himself again and again. In every portrait there is a feeling that the painter is searching for something, some meaning, as if he was unfamiliar with the person he was painting.”

The artist’s self-portraits are anchor pieces in his oeuvre, and several components make this particular work exceptional. Firstly, there is more focus on the ‘face’ which almost fills the entire canvas. The facial features are less distorted, almost beautifully defined, unlike most of the other self-portrait paintings that have been sold at auction. Instead of a more common frontal portrayal, the face is subtly tilted at an elegant angle, and the gaze in the eyes are intense, thereby making it seem like Affandi himself is initiating an encounter with his viewer. This work is not only painted in the artist’s signature style, it contains elements that supports its quality.

Affandi was known to be a spiritual person, hence it is interesting to note that the constant visitation of the theme of the self-portrait is not to be mistaken with the artist’s preoccupation with himself, but rather, it served as a vital visual meditation of the physical world that he inhabited.

Joseph Borkin, the late American economist and legal advisor to Indonesia’s then-President Sukarno sold an Affandi ‘Self Portrait’ through Christie’s in 2011. He had a delightful meeting with Affandi while on his trip to Indonesia that left him full of admiration for the artist. He shared his personal encounters with his family upon his return to America and even told them that he had ‘just met the next Van Gogh!’ (It has been recorded that Van Gogh painted 30 portraits of himself in a span of 3 years from 1886-1889)

This maestro has sincerely earned the title of Important Pioneer Artist of Modern Art in Indonesia. He consciously broke away from the Dutch-influenced Mooi Indie style - originally the Dutch term for Beautiful Indies that depicted false beauty and peace in a seemingly ‘turbulent’ Indonesian nation. Affandi chose to portray what he felt was authentic – unpretty but true.

“When I paint, I always want to become one with the object I paint. I lose myself, and then there is a feeling as if I’m going to fight against something.” - Affandi

The 60s marked a mature period in Affandi’s artistic career, mainly influenced by his travels that inspired his definitive style. In 1949, Affandi received a scholarship from the Indian government to study at Santiniketan, an art academy founded by the Indian poet Rabindranath Tagore. Artist Xu Bei Hong was one of the artists who also attended the school 1939-1940.

After completing his education, Affandi held several art exhibitions, chiefly among them are the Sao Paulo Biennale in 1953 and the Venice Biennale in 1964. His other notable museum shows include the following: In 2020, the National Gallery of Indonesia in Jakarta presented Alam, Ruang, Manusia (Nature, Space, Human), a major solo exhibition of the artist's oeuvre; Southeast Asian Paintings: Visions and Enchantment, Singapore Art Museum (2000); Modern Artist Affandi, The Fukuoka Asian Art Museum, Japan (1999); Collection Exhibition Series: Imagining Selves, Singapore Art Museum (1998—1999).

More from 20th/21st Century Art Evening Sale

View All
View All