ARIE SMIT (b. 1916)
ARIE SMIT (b. 1916)


ARIE SMIT (b. 1916)
signed and dated 'Arie 03' (lower right)
acrylic on canvas
100 x 148 cm. (39 3/8 x 58 1/4 in.)
Painted in 2003
Private Collection, Indonesia
Rudolf Usman, Arie Smit: The Latest Paintings of Arie, Rudolf Studio, Ubud, Bali (illustrated, p. 63).

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Lot Essay

The art of Arie Smit is one that tells a story of finding belonging in a foreign land, the development of a distinctive style of artistic expression, and also of a legacy in Balinese art that continues until today. Arie Smit's involvement with the Topographical Service in Indonesia since the early 1940s allowed him to gain an in-depth knowledge and appreciation for the lush and varied landscapes of Indonesia. After his service to the events of the Second World War, Smit chose to remain in Indonesia, and eventually moved to Bali in 1956. It was here that his artistic endeavours became fully realised through an exposure to the landscapes of Bali that had inspired the efforts of the Indo-European painters like Walter Spies, Rudolf Bonnet, and Han Snel, that had come before him. Smit's stylized representation of the Balinese landscape that combines elements of impressionism and Gaugin-esque colour in turn inspired a generation of native Indonesian painters in the Young Artists style, as well as the contemporary painters of today, such as Paul Husner.

Beach in Bali is a triumphant example of Smit's desire to express the colours and essence of Bali. The style is vibrant and spontaneous - characteristic of the artist, and immediately evocative. Executed on a rare scale in the artist's oeuvre, this work is a true masterpiece and realization of Smit's artistic vision. Depicting an expansive seaside landscape, Smit's iconic figures populate the beach in communal activity. With impressive detail for an artist who was slowly losing his vision, Smit renders the minute figures in dynamic action. A brilliant sunset throws hues of bright orange across the sky, and illuminates the scene with a warm glow. The predominant use of green in the grass, trees, sky, as well as sea, expresses the verdant, life-giving spirit of Bali that so inspired the artist.

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