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Jakarta Post

Adolfs: Generic beauty in the Dutch East Indies

  • Bruce W. Carpenter

    CONTRIBUTOR

Jakarta   /   Sun, March 29 2009   /  01:13 pm

To begin with, there can be no doubt that this sumptuous work is a must, in spite of its steep price, for the library of anyone interested in the Indonesian art scene or Dutch colonial lifestyle from 1920 to 1940.
 
That said, while the ostensible subject of this immense tome, the self-taught artist Gerard Pieter Adolfs, produced some competent and even good work (my favorites are his graphic material) during his career, he will always remain a minor artist from a provincial neo-Impressionist school of painting known as the “Beautiful Indies Style” that is ultimately, eminently forgettable. And so, it should come as no surprise that the book is important not because of the art itself (even luxurious foldouts cannot elevate the mundane), but rather the designer’s creative combination of diverse illustrative material (photos, memorabilia, drawings, sketches an...