Lot 071

b. Indonesia 1912 – d. 1987


Signed ‘Koempoel’ (lower right)
Oil on canvas
45.5cm x 65cm

Private collection, Singapore; acquired through
Sotheby’s South East Asian Paintings sale,
Singapore, 30 September 2001, lot 145.

ESTIMATE  RM 3,000 - 5,000
Koempoel Soejatno portrays a busy street scene by the quayside of the early 20th century, the hustle of ox-carts transporting goods from the bustle of junk boats moored at the pier. As with most of his paintings, he developed a technique of using brushes to make successions of coloured surfaces and palette knife or sharpened bamboo tips to create textures. His other signature styles include painting flamboyant trees - often painted in the hues of orange, yellow and red - and ox-carts by the countryside.

Koempoel Soejatno was the son of Suroamidjojo and R.R Samilah, whose paternal lineage was traced to the Javanese patriot R.A. Prawirodirdjo. He attended the Hollandsch Inlandsche School in Surabaya where his flair as a painter was discovered by the headmaster Van Staal. Koempoel had the privilege of being introduced to the Dutch painter Gerard Pieter Adolfs through Van Staal. The encounter fostered a friendship between Koempoel and Adolfs who had taught Koempoel the technical factors of painting. Koempoel attended the Burgelijk Ambacht School to study architecture. In 1932, Koempoel moved to Malang, East Java and met another Dutch painter Willem van der Does who accepted Koempoel as an apprentice. Koempoel’s first solo exhibition was held in 1935. His subject matters vary from ox-carts, paddy rice landscapes, fish, bird and flower markets, food stalls to cockfights and traditional processions.

Koempoel Sujatno the Maestro: Tracing the Old Historical City of Soerabaia 1912-1987
, G & G Art Foundation, 2003.