These two lots were displayed at a solo exhibition by Srihadi Soedarsono at the Jakarta Art Center in 1978. Ajip Rosidi, head of the Jakarta Art Center wrote: “Srihadi Soedarsono always offered his latest creation and invention in paintings at every exhibition … and there would always be a surprise!”.
Srihadi Soedarsono was born in Solo in 1931. He studied at the Bandung Institute of Technology from 1952 to 1959, where he learned modernism as well as western art tradition and techniques from Ries Mulder, a lecturer at the time. In 1962, Srihadi completed his Master of Arts at the Ohio State University in the United States. It was there, that he became fascinated with the works of Mark Rothko (1903 – 1970), especially his use of color to exude, project and convey emotions. In the present lots, Rothko’s influence is refined and combined with Srihadi’s Javanese background and philosophy of looking for perfection. In Srihadi’s own words: “I try to reach infinity … and … it is with color that I get closer or farther with what I feel and watch.” (1*)
Srihadi’s wife Farida Soedarsono studied at the famous Gerrit Rietveldt Kunstacademie in Amsterdam from 1976 to 1978 and it was during this time that Srihadi visited Keukenhof and eternalized the landscape of tulips into the two paintings offered here (lots 87 – 88).
These two paintings were part of his early exploration of horizons, the infinity of distance, and the limits and the essence of landscape. They also reflect his newfound interest in Zen meditation. He remarks that “my paintings are not landscapes. I am not interested in painting landscapes and never have been.” Instead, he absorbed the beauty of the landscape, the expansive vistas of multicolor beds of the tulip gardens at Keukenhof, and in search of simplicity, he extracted the peace and harmony, the anguish and vigor of the wind and displayed them in blocks of colors, reminiscent of Rothko.
In the first painting (Lot 76) the beds of tulips are represented by horizontal bands of colors: dominated by red, purple and cream, with yellow and orange lines at the horizon. Purple would become one of his favorite colors. (2*)
In the second painting (Lot 77), the entire bottom half of the landscape of tulips is dominated by bands of different shades of green. Again, as the distance approaches infinity, the bands compress into two thick lines of orange with a windmill at the horizon.
The owner of these paintings was working at the Dutch embassy in Jakarta when he purchased these remarkable masterpieces, keeping the pricelist accompanying the exhibition as documentation.
These rare and powerful paintings present a rare opportunity to own museum quality works that document and convey the artistic journey and achievements of this inspiring Indonesian master; in his search of unity between man and the universe.
1* – Jean Couteau and Farida Srihadi, “Srihadi Soedarsono – Man x Universe “ Afterhours, Jakarta (2020) pages 164 and 170.
2*- Personal communication with the artist on 20 September 2020.