Details
AFFANDI
(Indonesian, 1907-1990)
The Pig Seller from Bali
signed with artist's monogram and dated '57' (center left)
oil on canvas
137.5 x 122 cm. (54 3?8 x 48 in.)
Painted in 1957
Provenance
Private Collection, California, USA

Brought to you by

Eric Chang
Eric Chang

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Lot Essay

Affandi is widely accepted as one of the fathers of modern Indonesian painting, having painted and exhibited his works in several parts of the world, including India, Egypt, Japan, France and the United Kingdom. His paintings are widely considered to exemplify the compassion, humanity and liveliness he sees in the Indonesian people, especially the poor. The three lots in this sale characteristically show Affandi's unmistakeable style, with each textured stroke applied onto the canvas straight from the tube. The paintings, painted between the years 1957 and 1980, show his development as an artist after his return to Indonesia from India, and demonstrate the depth and breadth of Affandi's artistic vision, cementing his position as one of the most important Indonesian painters of the 20th Century.

One of Affandi's most characteristic representations is that of the fishing boat - Indeed, 'it is as if Affandi in all these works was making these beach and boat scenes a metaphor for his anxiety in the face of life and nature'. Fishing Boats (Lot 229), painted in 1980, a mere ten years before his death is especially indicative of this introspective attitude, with the three boats on the sand, at rest, facing an infinite ocean.

The Pig Seller from Bali (Lot 230) shows an ordinary Balinese man, provincial and in his elements, holding across his shoulders his source of livelihood, a pair of wild boars. The man's face, intensely coloured in red, illustrates the great force he is exerting, and the effect of the weight of the two pigs on the sinews of his body. The wild dog roaming behind the pig-seller provides the viewer with a good example of the way Affandi uses metaphor in the scenes he portrays; the forest surrounding the man is not welcoming and beautiful; instead, it is menacing and threatens the man's very survival but the dog, which appears frequently in Affandi's figurative paintings, is the man's companion.
Besides the rarity of the subject, Balinese Scarecrows (Lot 231) by Affandi is also a superlative composition, full of dynamic action that goes beyond the visual. Music in Balinese life is integrated into everyday life, beginning with the traditional music of the Balinese gamelan to even scarecrows in the fields; from bamboo chimes and whirring clackers, to rusty tin cans and elaborate plastic bag mobiles, shaken by the farmers and the wind; all to rid the valuable rice fields of the birds. The sun in the upper half of the composition is the source of life for which the harvest season is dependent. The scarecrows in the field take the form of wayang puppets, integrating performance, sound and life into one. The picture signals the close relationship between music and life and the agricultural cycle in Bali.
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