(B. Austria, 1982-1974)
Legong-Tanzerin (Bali), 1928
Inscribed “Roland Strasser: Legong – Tanzerin (Bali)” on bottom of paper
Lithograph on paper
43 x 30.5 cm
Private Collection, Kelantan
AVAILABLE – RM 2,800 – RM 5,800
“During five years of wandering in the heart of Asia, I accepted my experiences and impressions like such a child … But now that it is over, I feel the impulse to note down and retain, while they are still vivid, some at least of the strange and thrilling impressions that crowd upon me, in the shape of a few descriptive and open sketches.” His vivacious paintings, creations and drawings captured and depicted the lives of subjects from cultures and societies that are still considered “exotic” by European viewers. He was once described by one of his admirers as “a strange, restless painter, who disappears for years…” and he was known for painting subjects that were complicated or even risky to paint. As seen in this piece, he captures eloquently the mysticism and mystery that borders on something forbidden that surrounds the Legong dance.
Strasser first travelled to Thailand, then Indonesia and New Guinea in the 1920s, and he journeyed to the remote and forbidding interior of New Guinea. Due to a misfortunate event, he made his way back to Java, but lost all his drawings. He then spent eighteen months at Bali where he met Willem Dooyewaard, a Dutch artist, who became his student and frequent travel companion.
Roland Strasser was born in Vienna in 1895 and was of Basque descent. He was one of the great painter/adventurers of the early 20th century, and one of the last Orientalist romantics. Strasser first studied art with his father – whose family name was Quiriqez — a member of the Viennese Sucession movement who taught at the Academy of Fine Arts and was known for his small scale polychrome ceramic sculptures and also for a bronze of Marc Antony that he created for the 1900 Paris World Exhibition. At the age of 17, after completing his studies at a Realschule, Roland Strasser accompanied his father on a trip to Egypt. Strasser next studied with Rudolf Jettmar and Julius Schmidt at the Vienna Academy of Fine Arts between 1911 and 1915. He was then assigned as war artist for the Imperial War Press. Roland then briefly worked as a lithographer and illustrator.