Our auction of Indonesian paintings on the 11th of December 2013 contains this masterpiece by Romualdo Locatelli (1905-1943).
|Romualdo Locatelli (1905-1943)
Among other places, Locatelli worked for the Vatican and the royal House of Italy. At the end of 1938, he left for the Dutch Indies on the invitation of the Dutch Governor.
In Bandung, he stayed with the artist (as well as drawing and math teacher) L.C. Bouman (1896-1947). As Locatelli was very pleased with his stay at the Bouman family, he offered this painting as a gift.
In the book the artist’s wife wrote about the period from 1938 until 1946 (‘Romualdo Locatelli, Memoirs 1938-1946, The ultimate voyage of an Italian artist in the Far East’) a Javanese princess with the name Launa is mentioned.
She wanted to become a non and was disowned by her family for this reason. A Dutch family who lived in Bandung looked after her. She spoke Malaysian, Javanese, Dutch, English and French. When she was 19 years old, Locatelli painted her portrait. It is very possible that she is the girl depicted on the painting.
After his stay on Java, Locatelli left for Bali and settled in Manilla later on. On the 24th of February 1943, he goes on a bird hunt and disappears. Despite many searches, he has never been found again. Locatelli’s work is scarce, especially from his Asian period. Due to a bombing on Manilla, 75 paintings of his were lost.