RADEN BASOEKI ABDULLAH
B. Indonesia, 1915 -1993
Portrait of a Woman – God’s Creation
Signed on lower left Signed, titled and inscribed with artist’s address on the verso
Oil on canvas
100 x 75 cm
Private Collection, UK
RM 60,000 – RM 100,000
Raden Basoeki Abdullah was part of the first wave of Indonesian artists who seamlessly paired local motifs with Western art traditions. Influenced by Dutch masters, Rembrandt and Johannes Vermeer, Basoeki fused their style of classical portraiture and landscape paintings into his own artworks. These aesthetics were evident in the artist’s application of light and shadows, as well as the colours to create a certain ambience within the paintings. Basoeki’s portraits of women are highly sought after and much of his oeuvre was dedicated to their beauty and gentle presence. This painting is a classic piece that perfectly exemplifies the artist’s artistic principles. While embodying a voyeuristic tone, Abdullah’s portrayal of women only served to enhance their natural charm. He painted them in compositions devoid of objects so it wouldn’t take away attention from their quiet sensuality.
The manner in which this was painted was popular amongst the European painters, and defined the country’s artistic identity under foreign rule. Basoeki painted local subject matters, through a Western perspective. Nude captures personal aesthetics, for the woman dominates the composition completely, her presence an enigma that seduces and fascinates the audience. The woman in the present work, together with the others who inhabited the artist’s paintings, celebrates the Indonesia woman as being an important part of the country’s artistic heritage and cultural identity.