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A look inside the 2017 Larasati art auction

Richard Horstman
Richard Horstman

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

Jakarta  /  Tue, October 3, 2017  /  01:51 pm
A look inside the 2017 Larasati art auction

Lot 549 'Subali & Sugriwa' by Nyoman Meja (Larasati/File)

Art auctions are an exciting and accessible way to grow your collection.

For the curious observer and new buyers, auctions are a fascinating process that gives insight into the art world, often perceived to be opaque, mysterious and even intimidating.

Auctions allow opportunities for new buyers to enter the market often at well below gallery prices, which can be cheaper than purchasing directly from the artist’s studio. 

The Larasati Auctioneer’s upcoming Traditional, Modern and Contemporary Art auction to be held in Ubud, Bali, on Oct. 8 offers 80 lots of fine art for sale in various categories, including Indonesian and Balinese art, and catering to the budgets of new buyers, intermediate collectors and the connoisseurs. 

Since February 2016, real time internet bidding has been available through the Larasati website, opening the auction to a global audience. Real-time internet accessibility allows prospective buyers to follow hammer prices to assess the market and the level of interest of a certain class or individual lot, while also allowing for bidding strategies to be revised.  

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A feature of the twice-yearly Larrasati auction is always the fascinating array of modern-traditional Balinese paintings available for sale. The genre evolved through the influence of the Pitamaha Artist’s Association, established in 1936 in Ubud to oversee the growth of this art style catering for new burgeoning markets that quickly developed during the first wave of tourism to embrace Bali. 

Lot 561 'Burung-Burung Surgawi' by Dewa Ketut RunganLot 561 'Burung-Burung Surgawi' by Dewa Ketut Rungan (Larasati/File)

Two works of interest by masters of the Pitamaha are Lot 565, Perebutan Tirta Kamandalu by Anak Agung Gde Meregeg (1912-2000) with an estimated price between Rp 60 million (US$4,418) and Rp 80 million; and Lot 575, Sang Hyang Jaran by Tjokorda Oka Gambir (1902-1975), with an estimated price between Rp 20 million and Rp 25 million.

These paintings offer excellent buying opportunities if purchased within the undervalued estimated prices. Both artists have had enormous influence on the development of Balinese art. Gambir is one of the founders of the Ubud School of painting, while Meregeg, one of the first students of Walter Spies (1895-1942), is the grandfather of celebrated Ubud painter A.A. Anom Sukawati.

New buyers have excellent opportunities to enter the market with Lot 505, Broken Triangle, 1990, by Made Wianta, which has an estimated price of between Rp 5 million and Rp 7 million; Lot 510, Dua Wanita Jawa, 1988 by Bagong Kussudiardjo (1928-2004) with an estimated price of between Rp 6 million and Rp 8 million; and Lot 511, Figur Wayang, 1990 by Pande Gde Supada, which has an estimated price of between Rp 6 million and Rp 8 million. Both Wianta and Supada played formative roles in shaping Balinese modern and contemporary art in the 1970’s.

For buyers prepared to hold works for a 10-to 20-year period, some good long-term investments are available here. Lot 564, Calonarang is an ink-on-paper work by respected Sanur painter Ida Bagus Nyoman Rai (1915-2000) and has an estimated price between Rp 10 million and Rp 12 million. Lot 566, Mythological Scene is a stunning work by Dewa Nyoman Leper (1917-1984), with an estimated price between Rp 15 million and Rp 18 million. Nineteen-year-old Pande Made Dwi Artha typifies the talented new generation of Batuan painters that promise an exciting future for the most loved and critically acclaimed genre of Balinese art. His dynamic and fascinating take on the culture of corruption, Lot 534, People Are My Toys, has an estimated price of between Rp 7 million and Rp 9 million.

Lot 580 'Tari Baris' by Ida Bagus Made PolengLot 580 'Tari Baris' by Ida Bagus Made Poleng (Larasati/File)

The connoisseur’s attention will be on the later part of the auction, especially the final two lots by Ida Bagus Made Poleng (1915-1999). Lot 579, Kawan Rusa, has an estimated price of between Rp 140 million and Rp 170 million, and Lot 580 Tari Baris is estimated between at Rp 150 million to Rp 200 million. Poleng is arguably the most talented Balinese painter of the 20th century.

Lot 578, Panen Raya, is a rare work by Dewa Putu Bedil (1921-1999), with an estimated price of between Rp 70 million and Rp 90 million; and Lot 576 by Ida Bagus Made Nadera (1910-1998), Kehidupan Nelayan, has an estimated price of between Rp 65 million and Rp 80 million.

Lot 576 'Kehidupan Nelayan' by Ida Bagus Made NaderaLot 576 'Kehidupan Nelayan' by Ida Bagus Made Nadera (Larasati/File)

The recent passing of pioneering modernist Nyoman Gunarsa in early September was an enormous loss to the Balinese art world. Born in 1944 in East Bali, Gunarsa was instrumental in helping forge new paths in Balinese aesthetics with his own dynamic interpretation of the wayang (shadow puppet) figures of Classical Balinese painting. However, his legacy as an artist, art lecturer and art community leader — one of the icons of the island’s cultural landscape — will continue through the generations of artists he has inspired.  Lot 559, Subali & Sugriwa, is an excellent work by Gunarsa that will attract attention, and has an estimated price of between Rp 45 million and Rp 55 million.

Lot 559 'Subali & Sugriwa' by Nyoman GunarsaLot 559 'Subali & Sugriwa' by Nyoman Gunarsa (Larasati/File)

Other works of note are Lot 532, by Arifein Neif; Lot 546, Suasana di Desa, by Nyoman Kayun; Lots 549 and 550, by Nyoman Meja; and Lot 561, Burung-Burung Surgawi, by Dewa Ketut Rungan.

Also worth noting are Lot 558, by Arie Smit; Lot 574, Potret Wanita Bali, by A.A Gde Sobrat; and Lot 572, The Birth of Ganesha, by Gusti Ketut Kobot (1917-1999) with an estimated price between Rp 65 million and Rp 75 million.

Good works for mid-level collectors include Lot 518 by Made Suarsa, Lot 526 by Gusti Agung Wiranata, Lot 540 by Ketut Tagen and Lot 568 by Dewa Ketut Ding.

Lot 546 'Suasana di Desa' by Nyoman KayunLot 546 'Suasana di Desa' by Nyoman Kayun (Larasati/File)

Lot 532 'Balinese Temple' by Arifein NeifLot 532 'Balinese Temple' by Arifein Neif (Larasati/File)

Lot 574 'Potret Wanita Bali' by A.A Gde Sobrat Lot 574 'Potret Wanita Bali' by A.A Gde Sobrat (Larasati/File)

Prospective buyers bidding over the phone or via real-time internet bidding who are unable to attend the previews 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 a 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 paintings current state and whether it has repairs or over-painting, are available upon request. 

Provenance, the historical data of the works previous owners, is also important and is provided. An information guide with 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 rate of 22 percent of the hammer price of the lot.

Open to the public at the Larasati Art Space in Tebesaya Gallery, the auction starts at 2:30 p.m. on Oct. 8, while viewing begins from 11 a.m. on Oct. 6. The online catalog is available at (kes)


  • Oct. 6, 11 a.m. – 7:30 p.m.
  • Oct. 7, 11 a.m. – 7:30 p.m.
  • Oct. 8, 11 a.m. – 1 p.m.

Auction: Oct. 8, from 2:30 p.m.

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

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