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WIDAYAT (Indonesian, 1919-2002)

Musim Bunga di Dataran Tinggi (Blossom Season in the Plain)

Musim Bunga di Dataran Tinggi (Blossom Season in the Plain)
signed and dated 'Widayat '89' (lower right); signed, titled and dated (on the reverse)
oil on canvas
145 x 200 cm. (57 1/8 x 78 ¾ in.)
Painted in 1989
Private Collection of the artist
Anon. sale; Christie's Singapore, 18 May 1998, Lot 183
Acquired from the above sale by the present owner

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Joyce Chan
Joyce Chan

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Lot Essay

The Indonesian painter, Widayat, was born in Central Java in 1919 from a well-regarded batik maker mother. He first learned painting from an amateur landscape painter in Bandung, exploring the mooi indie style, which he later abandoned. After Indonesia's independence in 1949, Widayat decided to join the first cohort of the newly created Indonesian academy of Fine arts (aSrI) in Yogyakarta. As early as 1950s, Widayat was already among the ranks of the esteemed artist in Indonesia and was receiving attention on a national level.

In his younger years, Widayat's career as a surveyor and a map-maker for a railway company allowed him the opportunity to experience the exotic foliage of the dense Sumatran jungles. These experiences became a key source of artistic inspiration for him, and he later portrayed idyllic visions of these lush forests in his paintings. His paintings are characterized by the inclusion of verdant plains, filled with exotic birds and wild animals – his works are charming recollection of the jungle.

Musim Bunga di Dataran Tinggi (Lot 459) is an exceptional example of Widayat's later period. With the use of darker tones on the background, Widayat emphasizes the intricate and beautiful composition of the highlands. The splash of reds highlights on the green foliage provides a further sense of depth, and transforms the painting into a magical and mystical scene.

Widayat's art during his mature phase was highly influenced by the aesthetic of batik. Widayat's Pohon Flamboyant (Lot 461) showcases the exquisite exploration of ornamental objects. With the two flamboyant trees as his main subject, another interesting addition to this painting is the activity of the worker in the middle of the jungle, collecting rubber seeds and transporting them out of the jungle by taking the narrow and unruly path. This is a nostalgic piece harking back to his past experiences in the jungle. The layering of bright and cool colours strengthens the decorative features of this sublime piece.

In comparison with the two preceding lots, Ke Pasar di Pegunungan (Lot 460) demonstrates another approach in Widayat's highly technical works. Less influenced by traditional batik elements, this piece is composed dominantly with flat shapes and colours instead. An interesting feature of Widayat's landscape compositions are the comparatively microscopic human elements, emphasizing the all-encompassing idea of Mother Nature.

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