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(Indonesian, 1923-2002)
Ikan Laut (Sea Fishes)
signed and dated 'Widajat 89' (lower right)
oil on canvas
70 x 96 cm. (27 1/2 x 37 3/4 in.)
Painted in 1989
Private Collection, Indonesia

Lot Essay

Born in 1923, Widayat was among the first batch of students at the Indonesian Academy of Fine Arts (ASRI), Yogjakarta. Upon graduating from the academy in 1954, he worked as a teacher in the academy. Widayat emerged as a pioneering artist in the post-independence Indonesia, at the time when artists strived to create new form and style of art, away from the Mooi Indie (Beautiful Indies) style prevalent during the colonial times. There is a keen sense of nationalism and pride in his art that are
enchanting, magical, as well as uniquely and unmistakably Indonesian. In the 1940s, before he joined ASRI, his initial career was a surveyor in a rubber
plantation in the dense Sumatran jungles. Later, many of his paintings, full of plants, exotic birds and wild animals would draw on these jungle memories. Widayat's works tend to have deep spirituality and meaning. Born in Central Java, his fantasy world also draws from Javanese legends he had heard as a child, but also from the Judeo-Islamic narrative of human genesis and creation.

Flora-Fauna (Lot 174) and Birds of Paradise (Lot 173) are prime examples of his idyllic take of the universe, capturing the splendour and enchantment of nature; two rather lyrical paintings depicting almost paradise-like scenes. Using warm and vibrant colours, these meticulously painted works present a celebration of life as one with nature. His use of rhythmically repeating motives, richness in texture, and vibrance in colour prevail strongly in these two works.

Hutan Anggrek (Lot 175) is a very picturesque rendering of a forest full or orchids and presents quite a different style. This demonstrates Widayat's passion to continue to challenge himself in creating different stylistic approaches. In Sea Fishes (Lot 176) he was experimenting with rendering prehistoric forms of fish !V again, a stylistically different painting, but one that is unmistakably his.

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