Affandi collection - A centennial celebration
For Affandi, all his works allowed a new outburst of subjectivity, to an expressionist unleashing of instinctual forces that is only possible with his keen observation of his subject for a considerable amount of time. Describing his painting technique, Astri Wright has written, "Affandi would spend a long time looking for painting subjects, and then a long time studying the subject, probing into it's being, until he felt he had become part of it. Only then would he start squeezing and smearing paint from the tubes on to the canvas, working it with his hands, palms, wrists, and the back of his hands. Painting for Affandi was a process of fixing into colour and form the storm of energy from his emotions which had risen through concentrating on something which had initially inspired him."
Subjectivity reigns in the works of Affandi who places his personal and therefore unique interpretation of his subject before anything else. Hence, he often relishes the opportunity to assault the realistic representation of his subject, be it a human form or a well known scene such as the Eiffel Tower or the St, Marcos Plazza as seen in this collection. Very often, he lets the subject fills up the canvas with no explicit spatial context. The compositions are usually constructed in clusters of smears, varied colours and textures that allow whatever depicted subject to float across the surface of the canvas and animated by the ebullient brushwork which effectively conveys a vivacious atmospheric effect for the work of Affandi.
2007 marks the centennial celebration for Affandi. It is the privilege of Christie's to present the second part of The Joseph Borkin's collection of which the first part it was successfully sold in November 2006 by Christie's Hong Kong.
Joseph Borkin was an economist, legal scholar, educator and a fine writer who died in 1979 at age of 67. Looking at his illustrious career, one would not hesitate to term him as a Renaissance man whose intellect and varied passion have granted him much achievement in life. He was the author of "Impeachment" in the Encyclopedia of Britannica, author of articles on antitrust laws in the Chicago Law Review, Columbia Law Review, Duke Law Review and a contributor to the Twentieth Century Funds "The Security Markets and Stock Market Control". In addition, he also taught courses on global economics and law at numerous universities.
Joseph Borkin made numerous trips to Southeast Asia in the fifties and especially to Indonesia helping the fledgling nation to gain its footing by marshalling support within the United States Congress as well as among the American press corps. It was during this period that he, as an avid art connoisseur, met and became friends with the Indonesian artist Affandi and, over the years, became the single largest American collector of his works.
The first meeting with Affandi left such an indelible impression on the collector that upon his return to the United States, Joseph Borkin excitedly declared to his wife, "I have just met the worlds' next Van Gogh". Joseph Borkin was convinced that Affandi possessed a unique talent and was the bridge that connected the best of eastern and western art. He was also certain that Asia Pacific was destined to become the next great economic and cultural center of the world. He made the family promised to keep the collection intact until after the artist had been dead for no less than fifteen years as he felt that the work of Affandi would be better appreciated after his death as it was the case with Van Gogh whose brilliance was only truly understood and fully appreciated after his passing.
11 oil on canvas works are included in this 2nd part of the Private Collection of Joseph Borkin and its quality remains true to the expressionist artist par sang as each and everyone of the work screamed of the signature style of the artist, it is also, a testimony to the devotion and the conviction of a collector, who saw and understood the ingenuity of the artist, well advance of his time.