Lot 016

b. Indonesia, 1919 - d. 1996

DAYU ADE, 1976

Signed 'Dullah' (lower right)
Oil on canvas
60cm x 50cm

Private Collection, Indonesia.

ESTIMATE  RM 12,000 - 18,000


A portrait of a sweet-looking damsel seated to reveal her side profile with her eyes fixed downwards - appropriating a traditional Indonesian costume with a sash covering her left shoulder and flowers adorning her hair, tied in a ponytail - her soft curls flowing delicately, resting on her spine. Her earring hangs freely and still, just as her gaze. A posture reminiscent of Vermeer’s Girl with Pearl Earring - although Dullah’s Dayu Ade radiates introversion or even melancholic in her gaze without adorning a tear-drop pearl earring – this could perhaps be a tribute to the great painter of the Dutch Golden Age. Dullah believed that the recipe to capture the essence of portrait painting is proportion, feeling and narrative and indeed, the elements are truly felt here.

Dullah was well known as a master portrait artist with no equal in Indonesia. This self-taught artist admitted that Affandi and S. Sudjojono were his great teachers, but in fact his creations which obviously followed the school of realism were quite divergent to the works of the above two great masters. Since the early days of the independence, Dullah was very close to Soekarno, the first President of the Republic of Indonesia. In 1949, Dullah led a group of young artists to show live battle scenes during the war of Indonesia’s independence against the Dutch. The works were exhibited at the Legermuseum in Holland. The exhibition gained great interests and the works were documented in the book Karya dalam Peperangan dan Revolusi (1978).

Dullah was also appointed by Soekarno to take care of all of the President’s art collections and mandated to be curator of the state painting collections. He often accompanied the President on his trips at home as well as abroad. Consequently, Dullah moved to his hometown Solo and settled there with his family and co-founded the Surakarta Cultural Association. He also spent most of his creative time in Bali together with a group of his pupils where he established his Realist Painting Workshop first in Ubud before settling in Pejeng. Dullah also ran an art gallery in Mas where most of his good works were on display for sale. At the age of 70, Dullah built his museum in Solo all on his own without any financial support from the government or other private institutions. This museum was dedicated to his everlasting love and passion for the arts.