Like many artists of his time, the turbulent years of the Japanese Occupation and the revolution against the Dutch colonial government have left much impact on Hendra's works. It is known that Hendra painted political and propaganda posters during the forties. The posters which were mostly of guerilla fighters were also Hendra's subjects for his paintings. As Astri Wright observed "The early works are mostly dark canvas depicting guerilla fighters on the move or resting in blueish landscapes; gatherings of people on a beach or at a market; women delousing each other or hanging out on a beach in threes; or a bride on a bicycle wheeled by her groom in (military uniform)" (Astri Wright, "Hendra Gunawan (1918-1983) The infatuated Painter" in Modern Indonesian Art: Three Generations of Tradition and Change 1945-1990, John Fischer edit., Singapore, 1990, p. 125).
Many critics and collectors would notice the change of colours in the artist's later works. His imprisonment at the Kebon Waru prison (1965-1978) was a period of distinctive change as his preference of brighter colours became apparent. What remained constant throughout his career was his love for the people "Hendra's people, particularly towards the end of his life, are people with a leisurely approach to life and generous time on their hands. In Hendra's paintings, this time is spent outside, in the shade of a banyan tree, on a bluff with a view, across the land of mountains, beaches and oceans, with all the elments of the world present, in symphonic station." (Dr. Astri Wright 'Hendra Gunawan: Styles, Themes and Visions' in Hendra Gunawan: A Great Modern Indonesian Painter, Ir. Ciputra Foundation, Jakarta, 2001, p. 61)
The Durian vendor is a work painted after the artist's imprisonment and his move to Bali. The common Indonesian people are celebrated with great vivacity in the present lot. The brilliant hues, bold swirling brushstrokes and the exaggerated poses imbue the painting with a sensuality that is characteristic of Hendra's later works, apart from the bright colours. Once again, the ordinary people are immortalised in a painting where the foreground is densely filled with frantic activity, the figures rendered life size. In the background, is a calm but grand mountainous landscape, signifying the grandiose nature of the 'ordinary things in life'.