AFFANDI (1907-1990)
AFFANDI (1907-1990)

Nelayan Bali I (Balinese Fisherman I)

AFFANDI (1907-1990)
Nelayan Bali I (Balinese Fisherman I)
signed with artist’s monogram and dated ‘1982’ (lower left)
oil on canvas
110 x 130.5 cm. (43 ¼ x 51 3/8 in.)
Painted in 1982
Acquired directly from the artist in 1982 by the present owner
Private Collection, Europe
Jakarta, Indonesia, Affandi Exhibition, 1982

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Lot Essay

As one of the great artists of the 20th century, Affandi distinguished himself with a truly outstanding artistic language rooted in the expressive qualities of line. Each line in his painting, be it a short curl of impasto, or a longer trail of paint scrawled across the surface of the canvas, is an articulate line brimming with purpose. His distinct style is attained by directly squeezing the paint out of its tube and shaping the lines with his fingers. He came across this technique by accident when, unable to find a paintbrush in close proximity, he hastily applied the paint directly from its tube. The resulting effect, as he found out, was that the painted object appeared more alive.

Affandi's art was shaped by the direct observation of the world around him, which he transformed to express his personal inner vision. His commitment to painting daily scenes of Indonesian life was a life-long passion as he depicted the most beautiful aspects of his homeland. To capture the essence of each situation or object, he painted and repainted a core group of subjects which include scenes of Indonesian life, the sun, his self-portrait, and of course the figure of the Indonesian fisherman as seen in the present lot, Nelayan Bali I.

In 1982, Affandi organised an exhibition of 91 paintings in a hotel at Thamrin Square, Jakarta. A European member of the Foreign Office was living there at that time, and acquired this work for 2,500,000 Indonesian Rupiah, directly from the artist. The work has been in his private collection ever since, making its first appearance on the market today.

The subject is a fisherman, close to life-size, wearing a typical fisherman's hat, seated in his boat in a comfortable lotus pose, off to sea with a fish net still empty behind him. Affandi has painted the fisherman in a calm and assured posture, with wisps of white strokes in the background evoking the cool mist of the early morning. Yet, at the foreground, his red and pointed paddle gives direction and depth to the composition, and symbolises strength behind his reposeful appearance – a metaphor for the artist who would've painted this work at the age of 75 with an inexhaustible youthful vigour.

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