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Kusama Affandi | IAS 2023 € 30.000,-

Kusama Affandi | IAS 2023 € 30.000,-

Kusama Affandi (Indonesian, 1907-1990)
The drying of the rice
signed with initials (lower right)
oil on canvas, 42,5×53 cm

-Collection Mr A. Levisson (his name is written in pencil on the stretcher), thence by descent to the present owner.

Affandi is a renowned Indonesian painter famous for his expressive and unique style. Born in 1907 in Cirebon, Indonesia, he began his artistic journey at a young age in Bandung, West Java, as a film poster painter for cinemas. Until the end of his life, he succeeded in becoming one of the most influential Indonesian artists. Affandi is known for his ability to capture the essence of his subjects through bold brushwork and bright colors. Since his debut in Bandung, Affandi’s paintings mostly feature scenes of daily life, natural landscapes, and self-portraits. He often paints with his fingers, avoiding traditional brushes, which gives his work a distinctive, raw quality.

Affandi’s biographers said that Affandi once exhibited at a night market in Bandung and was visited by Syafe’i Soemardja – a figure in Indonesian fine arts and architecture education. In the 1930s, Soemardja studied art at the Rijksinstituut tot Opleiding Voor Tekenleraren in Amsterdam and the Pedagogical Institute in Vienna. In 1935, after Soemardja finished his studies in Europe, he worked as a teacher in Bandung. He had just returned from Europe when he saw the Affandi exhibition. Soemardja not only praised Affandi’s works but also bought them. Affandi recalled Soemardja’s words, “If I buy your painting, it’s not because it is good. But because soul is mature in the painting.” It is not surprising that Affandi later admitted that, without Soemardja’s encouragement, he would never have had a career as a painter.

Affandi’s two paintings, one of which records the market atmosphere (dated 1938), and the other shows the rice harvest in a village (undated), can be said to be some of Affandi’s early paintings representing the Bandung period. The origin of this painting is from the relationship between Sjafe’i Soemardja, who had been a mediator for his colleague A. (Dolf) Levisson – who worked in the then East Indies as a teacher of physical education and German – who then bought it. Levisson’s family spent the years 1940 – 1945 in the Japanese concentration camps. In late 1948 or early 1949, the Levissons returned to the Netherlands, where they lived first in Alkmaar and later in Amsterdam. Both paintings hung there in his home until Dolf Levisson’s death and then came into the hands of his only son, R.A. Levisson, the husband of the current owner’s mother who died last year.

Aminudin TH Siregar, Indonesian art historian

  • Date 12 juni 2024
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