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Auke Sonnega (1910-1963), ‘The glory of the rice growers’

By 11 oktober 2011No Comments

We are proud to present another masterpiece by Auke Sonnega. It will be sold in our auction of 13 and 14 December 2011.

Auke Sonnega (1910-1963), ‘The glory of I. Tandu’, also known as ‘The glory of the tani’, 
signed, dated 1949, canvas, 90 x 100 cm. 

The painting shows Sonnega’s extraordinary composing skills and influences of the well known painter Walter Spies. In his archive this painting appears with two titles: ‘The glory of I. Tandu’ and ‘The glory of the Tani’. Both titles can be explained. The man on the painting is I. Tandu, see photographs here below.

I. Tandu. Source: Auke Sonnega’s own photo collection, Bali 1948.

The other title ‘The glory of the tani’ was explained to me by Didier Hamel, the writer of the biography of Auke Sonnega. Tani means farmer or rice grower in Indonesia.The title can thus also be read as ‘The glory of the rice grower’. The Studio, an important art magazine during the 40s/50’s distributed in England and the USA, reproduced the painting in an article and wrote about it: ‘…..Sonnega still retains, however, some of the sonorous colours and rhythms that have their basis in the dances and songs of Indonesia. The picture illustrated here reflects the dependence of Mankind on Nature, especially in the east, where the vagaries of rain and sun decide the survival of millions.’

The Studio, December 1953. Hand writing is from Sonnega himself.
Thanks to Didier Hamel of HEXART Publishing for sending this scan.

 We also found a photograph of the painting while it was still unfinished:

Source: Auke Sonnega’s own photo collection, 1949.

And also a few of this painting on exhibitions (here hanging beside the well known ‘Flute player’):

Source: Auke Sonnega’s own photo collection, Medan 1952.

And finally also Auke himself with the painting:

Provenance: Mr. R. Claessens (1906-1992). Mr. Claessens was director of the enterprise SIPEF Indonesia. He bought the painting directly from Auke Sonnega. SIPEF, a company producing and trading commodoties like rubber, palmoil and tea was at that time one of the biggest companies in Indonesia. 

Source: Auke Sonnega’s archive

This painting will be reproduced in the soon to be released biography ‘Auke Sonnega – Artist of the enchanting tropics’ (full page, page 162 and 163) by Didier Hamel, HEXART Publishing.

Here daughter of Mr. Claessens with the painting:

More information about this painting and our auctions of Indonesian paintings:

René de Visser

Zeeuws Veilinghuis
Herengracht 74
4331 PX  Middelburg
Tel. +31(0) 118-650680