Lot 27 | Auction XVIII

LOT 27


B. Indonesia, 1918-1983

Three Workers Drinking Coffee, 1975

Signed and dated on lower right

Ink on paper
60 x 45 cm

Provenance Private Collection, America Acquired from Austin Auction Gallery Estate of Marcia Brown, Antiques & Decor

RM 15,000 – RM 22,000

“…the busy activities of fishermen on the coast, fishes, water buffaloes, women (making up, wearing a sarong, nude, dancing with faces masked), men and women in intimate love relationships, masked men, guerrillas and abstract forms better exploring his innermost feelings.”

Hendra studied painting with Wahdi, a landscape painter. From Wahdi, he learned a lot about painting, and in his spare time joined the Sunda troupe as a scenery painter. This piece in particular however, was painted while Gunawan was incarcerated in Kebon Waru prison, Bandung, Indonesia, between 1965 – 1978 for involvement in the Institute of Popular Culture (Lekra).

Hendra Gunawan was born in Bandung, West Java, in 1918. During his youth he joined the student troops and was an active member of Poetera (Center of Popular Power) and organization led by Sukarno and others. He was also active in Persagi (The Association of Indonesian Painters, an organization founded by S. Soedjojono and Agus Djaya in 1938. Gunawan was committed in his political views, and dedicated his life to the fight against poverty, injustice and colonialism. He was incarcerated in Kebon Waru for his involvement in the Institute of Popular Culture (Lekra), a cultural organization affiliated with the now-defunct Indonesian Communist Party (PKI). Gunawan’s incarceration began in the 1960’s and he was not released until 1978. During this time, his artwork was rarely seen or written about. Many of Gunawan’s works have been lost, but museums and private collectors have located and catalogued over 120 of his paintings and sketches, along with eleven sculptures.