AFFANDI (Indonesia 1907-1990)
Private Collection of Ambassador Josias Leao, Brazil Ambassador Josias Leco was one of the most important collectors in Brazil from the 1940s to 70s. A dedicated collector of Western Art, he had in his collection important works of Picasso, Vandongen, Utrillo, Renoir, Vlaminck, Soutine and many others which made up to more than 3000 pieces in the collection. Indonesian Art had a very special position in the collection of the Ambassador Josias Leco. Spending approximate 5 years in Jakarta. The Ambassador had learnt to appreciate and collected the works of Indonesian artists with a passion. Most of the works in the collection are dated from the 1960s which was the time he spent in the country. It was also a period when the development of Indonesian Art was going through a phase of unprecedented vibrancy. It was a time when the pioneering modernists like Affandi, S. Sudjojono and Hendra Gunawan were still depicting scenes of the common people as they were counteracting the Mooie Indies school of artists who were active at the beginning of the 20th century. It was also a time when the fierce battle between the Bandung and Yogya schools of artists was at its height, thereby sparking off brilliant works from representatives of both camps. It is no wonder that in his collection, one found the very early abstract pieces of Srihadi who is better known today for his lyrical dancers, the cubist renditions of But Mochtar which was considered completely avant garde then and last but not least, the expressionistic works of Affandi which always commanded an unique role in Modern Indonesian Art. Speaking the local language fluently, the Ambassador was able to communicate and befriend with many of the artists whose works he included in his collection. Affandi for instance was a good friend of his and eventually visited the Ambassador in Rio as his guest for many months. On his return to Rio after his office in Jakarta, the Ambassador brought along with him more than 200 Indonesian works.
AFFANDI (Indonesia 1907-1990)

Javanese dancer

Details
AFFANDI (Indonesia 1907-1990)
Javanese dancer
signed with monogram and dated 'A, 1965' (lower right)
oil on canvas
51 x 33 in. (130 x 85 cm.)

Lot Essay

A contemporary of S. Sudjojono and Hendra Gunawan, Affandi shared the same profound commitment against the Mooie Indies school of artists who painted romanticised scenes and people of the Dutch East Indies and which to the people's artists as they are known, are completely divorced with the reality of real Indonesia. Described as "one of the most important interpreters of people's life and emotion" (Astri Wright, Soul, Spirit, Mountain: Preoccupations of Contemporary Indonesian Painters, Oxford University Press, 1994, p. 158), Affandi's preoccupation with the common folk started at the beginning of his career. During the Japanese Occupation, Affandi spent a short period in Bali where he spent most of his time sketching soldiers and peasants. After which, the artist spent two years in India where he was totally "fascinated with the life he found all around him. The homeless, refugee camps, market-places, simple village homes, and the slums were all favourite themes in his painting." (Ibid.)

While developing a genre of subject matter e.g. fisherman, beggar and prostitute which were also depicted by Sudjojono and Hendra, Affandi developed an unique style which 'individualised' the common vision. By the 1950s, he began to develop a figurative style that involves the distortion and manipulation of shapes. He stopped using brushes and applied the oil paint directly to the canvas with his hands or directly from the tube. Affandi's painting became increasingly expressive and traces of his emotion became stronger and overwhelm the identity of his subjects. This became a consistent style till the passing of the artist in 1990.

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