“By 1960, But Mochtar, while retaining intellectual control, relaxed his former rigidity in the delineation of shapes, achieved greater conhesion in his compositions, and a greater fluidty in color composition...the colours are far from compartmentalized - freely fusing, they become a vibrant force permeating background and figures alike."
Claire Holt, Art In Indonesia: Continuities And Change, Cornell University Press, 1967, P. 238
But Mochtar received training under the tutelage of Ries Mulder, an educator and painter at the Bandung Institute of Technology (ITB). He continued his studies at the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) and Sculpture Center of New York, where he displayed an interest in a variety of sculptural styles that ranged from figurative to abstraction.The Bandung School actively pioneered Abstract Expressionist art since the Visual Arts Department was established at the Bandung Institute of Technology (ITB) in 1950. Indonesian artists studying in Bandung (West Java) experimented with combining their techniques together with the Western aesthetic styles of Cubism, Abstraction and Minimalism.
But Mochtar’s Five Women, a study of figures within a field of colours, stands out as a rare cubist work in the market today that references the productive fermenting period when But Mochtar and artists of his fellow generation were experimenting with different contemporaneous art styles.