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By 18 november 2015No Comments

‘Horse carriage in mountain landscape with banyan tree’
signed lower left and dated 1983 upper left,
canvas, 50 x 70 cm.

See for a painting with a nearly identical view:
Sidharta, A., ‘S. Sudjojono: Visible Soul’,
Museum S. Sudjojono, Jakarta, Indonesia, 2006, p. 264.
€ 25.000-35.000
Auction 8th of December 2015

Born in Kisaran, Sumatra, S. Sudjojono (1913-1986) is undoubtedly one of the most important figures in the history of modern Indonesian art. One of Sudjojono’s biggest contributions to Indonesian Art is unarguably his view that art of Indonesia should reflect the character of the land and its people. When Mooi Indië (Beautiful Indies) – a style which depicted the idealized representation of Indonesia with beautiful landscapes and sceneries – was the dominating art style during the early 20th century, S. Sudjojono strongly rejected the style and coined the term Mooi Indië as a sinister remark to that particular style of paintings. He continued working in the style of works which represent Indonesia at that time, portraying Indonesian people in their everyday life activities.

Sudjojono’s point of view in art was also further disseminated in his involvement in the stablishments
of several significant art associations during the colonial period. Amongst others, he was one of the
founders of PERSAGI (Association of Indonesia Drawing Specialists, 1938). His involvement in theseassociations was done together with many other leading artists at that time, including Affandi, Agus Djaya, Henk Ngantung and Hendra Gunawan. These associations undoubtedly played an important role in the formation and development of modern Indonesian Art. Sudjojono was a prolific artist and writer. His artistic oeuvre covers a wide spectrum, from paintings, sketches, drawings, public art and reliefs as well as ceramic works. (Source: 

At first sight, the current painting seems to be another typical example of Mooi Indië art; the Holy
Trinity (as Sudjojono himself cynically described it) of vulcanoes, sawahs and palm trees… they are
all present. But when one takes a closer look, the colour palette and expressionist brush stroke clearly
transcend the souvenir oeuvre of any self-taught Beautiful Indies painter. Instead, it betrays the hand
of the master. What’s more, Sudjojono purposely shows uncensored details from an Indonesian reality, details that would not fit in the romanticized conception of Beautiful Indies paintings.
The electricity pole, the irrigation channel, and the hierarchy of the master, seen from the back,
wearing a hat, inspecting the work of the labourer.

The current lot is in fact a intriguing amalgamation of demonstrating this realism of daily life, and at
the same time, it is Sudjojono sharing his great sense of pride with the viewer, a deep-rooted love for
his home-country Indonesia, expressed with utmost subtlety. The sacred Banyan tree, symbolizing the power and unity of Indonesia, is indispensable in the panoramic composition. The tree is both a silent witness and an impressive guardian of the beauty of this sunlit landscape, somewhere outside Jakarta.

More info about our auctions of Indonesian paintings:

René de Visser

Zeeuws Veilinghuis
Herengracht 74
4331 PX  Middelburg
0031 (0)118-650680