Traditional, contemporary artworks ready for auction in Bali

Richard Horstman

Artivist, observes and reports on developments in the Bali and Indonesian art scenes


Jakarta   /  Thu, August 23, 2018  /  11:35 am

'Ramayana Membebaskan Dewi Sita' by Wayan Radjin(Courtesy of Larasati/File)

Each year Larasati Auctioneers, Indonesia’s oldest fine art auction house, present two auctions in Ubud highlighting Balinese traditional art. On Aug. 26, 74 items will be up for sale in the Traditional, Modern & Contemporary Art Auction.

Open to the public, viewing begins 11 a.m. on Aug. 24 at the Larasati Art Space at Tebesaya Gallery, Ubud, Bali. The sale is led by a collection from Charles Powell, in the United States, and three beautiful traditional paintings by Wayan Radjin from the 1970s.

The sale presents works by old masters of traditional genres, some unique and rare paintings, works with investment potential and an array of compositions that allow good entry opportunities into the market for new collectors.

Catering for a range of tastes, works on offer include ink and watercolor on paper, Indonesian modern art, Balinese modern and contemporary paintings and works in traditional styles, along with a wood carving. Distinguished Balinese artists featured are Ida Bagus Made Poleng, Ida Bagus Made Widja, Gusti Ketut Kobot and Nyoman Gunarsa.

For new buyers wishing to enter the market, estimated prices in this sale begin at Rp 500,000 (US$35). Auctions offer buying opportunities at prices much cheaper than purchasing works directly from the artist’s studio or galleries.

These works by respected old masters will be of interest to the connoisseurs of Balinese art. Tjokorda Oka Gambir (1902-1975) is one of the founders of the Ubud School of painting, lot# 549 “Mythological Scene in Kamasan Style” is a large 248 x 132 cm work in natural color on cloth with an estimated price of between Rp 65-80 million, while lot #550 “Garuda & Wisnu” is by one of the esteemed masters of the influential Pitamaha Artists Association from Ubud (1936-1945), Gusti Ketut Kobot (1917-1999) with an estimated price of between Rp 95-110 million.

Lot #574 “Taris Bali” is a superbly balanced composition of a traditionally attired Balinese warrior emerging from the forest performing the unique warrior dance by Ida Bagus Made Poleng (1915 – 1999) who is regarded as one of the finest Balinese painters of the past century. This work bears the stamped identification that guarantees authenticity from the Ida Bagus Made Foundation, and has an estimated price of between Rp 165-190 million.    

The following are rare pieces lot #544; “Sarasvati” is an early work by the respected Batuan painter Wayan Taweng (1922 – 2004) who trained under Nyoman Ngendon (1906 – 1946) with an estimated price of between Rp 10-15 million. Wayan Radjin (b.1945) is the son of the celebrated Batuan artist I Djata, considered the founding father of the Batuan School. Lot #527 “Ramayana Membebaskan Dewi Sita” by Radjin is a beautiful acrylic on canvas composition with an estimated price of between Rp 28-38 million. Most of Radjin’s works are on paper, and rarely does such a quality work come onto the market.

Read also: A look inside the 2017 Larasati art auction

Lot # 572 “Iringan Pengatin” is a unique work because it is a crowded composition by the renowned painter of the unconventional Dewa Putu Mokoh (1913 - 2010), and has an estimated price of between Rp 7-10 million, while lot #521 “Ibu dan Anak”, featuring a composition of a mother and child is too an unusual work by Dewa Ketut Rungun (1922-1986), who is noted for his bird compositions. It has an estimated price of between Rp 15-20 million.

Opportunities for good investments are lot #513 a. “Di Malam Ini” and b. “Aku dan Dia Bermain”, two paintings by Indonesia’s most important woman artist I Gusti Ayu Kadek Murniashi (1966 – 2006), with a combined estimated price of between Rp 18-25 million, and lot #520 “Bali Life” by Ketut Gelgel, which has an estimated price of between Rp 95-110 million.

New collectors have opportunities to enter the market with lot #507 “Hierarkie” by Susilo Budi Purwanto, “Berburu Kuda”, lot# 512 by Made Wiradana, and two abstract oil paintings, lot #540 “Kampung Nelayan Kusamba” and lot #541 “Gunungan Semar” by noted Javanese painter Bagong Kussudiardjo (1928-2004), and the beautiful flowing flora and fauna forms within “Burung Burung Bangau”, lot #573 by Dewa Ketut Rungun.  Emerging Balinese artist Ngakan Putu Agus Arta Wijaya is a young artist worth keeping an eye on, with excellent technical skills, good ideas and a distinctive style, lot# 508 “Upgrade” comes with an estimated price of between Rp 7.5-9 million.

Other popular artists within the sale are renowned Dutch colorist Arie Smit, Otto Djaja, Mochtar Apin, Jehan, Ida Bagus Nyoman Rai, Nyoman Dewa Jati, Dewa Putu Bedil and Agung Mangu Putra.

For buyers seeking to invest it is important to have a strategy, with the view of buying and holding for at least 10-15 years, and to invest early in an artist before everyone is getting in on the market. Look for works that are rare and unique -- uniqueness referring to the quality and how often the artist makes such an image or composition.  A painting’s provenance is important for the established taste and also for authenticity, with the more prominent the previous owners, the better. This also includes the work’s history of exhibitions and inclusion in books or catalogs.

Potential buyers bidding over the phone, or via real-time internet bidding who are unable to attend the preview days or auction are advised to contact Larasati and inquire about the color reproduction accuracy of the images contained within the online catalogue to ensure that what they wish to purchase can be realistically appraised. The absence of reference to the condition of a lot in the catalog description does not imply that the lot is free from faults or imperfections, therefore condition reports of the works, outlining the painting’s current state and whether it has repairs or over painting, are available upon request.

Provenance, the historical data of the work’s previous owner/s is also important and is provided. An information guide including before the auction, during the auction and after the auction details, including conditions of business, the bidding process, payment, storage and insurance, and shipping of the work is also available. A buyer's premium is payable by the buyer of each lot at a rate of 22 percent of the hammer price of the lot.

The online catalog, complete with a guide for prospective buyers is available at (kes)



Auction: Aug. 26 from 2:30 p.m.

Place: Larasati Bali Art Space at Tebesaya Gallery, Jl. Jatayu, Banjar Tebesaya, Peliatan, Ubud, Gianyar, Bali

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