The Maestro of Indonesian Naturalist-Realist Painting

Written by Nurel Javissyarqi
Translated by Agus B. Harianto

Basoeki Abdullah was born in Surakarta, Central Java, January 25, 1915, and he died at November 5, 1993. The maestro of naturalist-realist painting art of Indonesia. The official painter of Istana Merdeka, his works decorates the rooms of the presidency and collected in different parts of the world. Talent from his father Abdullah Suryosubro, a painter and also a dancer. His grandfather is the hero of the National Revival Movement at the 1900s, Doctor Wahidin Sudirohusodo. Since he was four years he liked to paint figures: Mahatma Gandhi, Rabindranath Tagore, Jesus Krishnamurti. He had formal education in HIS and also the Catholic Mulo, Solo. By the promotion of Pastor Koch SJ, in 1933, he got scholarship to the Academie Voor Beeldende Kunsten, Den Haag, Netherlands. He Completed it in three years, he won the Royal International Certificate of Art (RIA). At the period of Japanese colonialism, he joined to the movement of Poetra, which was formed at March 19, 1943, and assigned to teach how to paint. His students were: Kusnadi (painter, art critic), Zaini (impressionist painter). He was active in Keimin Sidhosjo Bunka (Cultural Center of the Japanese government) with Affandi, S. Sudjoyono, Otto Djaya, Basoeki Resobawo. At the period of revolution he was not in Indonesia, it is not clear who was behind it. At September 6, 1948 he was in New York, Amsterdam, during the coronation of Queen Juliana, there was paint competition and he won from 87 European painters, since then the world knew him. During his stay in the Netherlands he went around Europe deepened his painting, had journey in Italy, France. He was famous as portrait painter; he painted the ladies of the royal family who tend to beautify their body. He paints scenes of fauna, flora, the theme of struggling and so many others. He had so many solo exhibitions inside the country and outside as well: Thailand, Malaysia, Japan, Netherlands, United Kingdom, and Portugal. Over 22 countries have his works. Most of his life he lived in outside the country, and since 1974 he was living in Jakarta. He was good at dancing of wayang orang (wayang plays by people) as Rahwana or Hanuman. He is the fans of the composer Franz Schubert, Beethoven, hence his art does not Javacentris. He married four times. Yoshepin is his first wife (the Dutch, divorced, his daughter named Saraswati). The second one is Maya Michel (divorced), and then So Mwang Noi (divorced). And his last wife is Nataya Narerat until the end of his life and they have child named Cicilia Sidhawati. This painter died in his residence because of killed by the robbery, he buried in Mlati, Sleman, Yogyakarta. (Summary from

Live sufficiently supported by his family’s rich, he thought to live naturally realistic would be easy. Then reflected luxury of natural feelings, his soul went beautifully.

Wind caress of the days was always maturing his reason as perfect as passion of swing. However, if it is not supported by education, it will be spoiled without any direction.

Straightened by the inner of childhood on the sphere of reality of the read books. Folktales overshadow his artistic talents imagination.

The spirits of struggle from his grandfather thickened the spiritual patriotic of his soul. Although since he was young he was so familiar with the faces of world leaders he drew.

The sketches matured his paintings. His expert on dancing turn on his fingers lively played a various techniques of sweeping brush freely.

A dropping spots of rain grows the leaves on somewhere far. Then he tied up the shadows of opaque colors.

And also his habits playing drama of Wayang Orang, results the picture in his painting is truly dramatic.

Recurrent strokes are the sign that live is not bored. But nevertheless impatient, it seems at the background of his work implies hidden desires.

It inhales dark and bright of the melodies of his painting. His personal anxiety is rather than material wealth or the lack of attention, but he would like to find more.

His instinct was guided by the wind blow to follow the shadow as high as dreams, which often bothered his sleep.

Every time he awaked he would be hurry to stripe the brush or read a book, while he figured out the honey of reflection.

His heart wandered, his eyes followed the path of sentences. Then some tracks appeared engendered him quickly to paint on canvas, and he started it by affirming intentions.

His heart wanted to be lighter after the emotion was on the hand, slowly he played his supple fingers.

Often his view was back and forth, In order to find a balanced composition that desired in him.

He renewed fresh colors to have character. Considered a sense to reflect the logic to the displayed by times in the future.

He always wanted to be respected maturely, although in the strokes of the brushes of his doubts.

His dependence of white paint on each covering of his expression, showed his soft and comfort personality.

His sincerity to run his fate is sailed by dramatic nuance of battle driving horses. The top of the sharp spear, the arrival of male lions.

Slices the fleshes, mangles bones, and scatters blood spurting. The atmosphere of fires and also fights of animals.

Beside he expresses the harmonies of paired horses to the fields of grass.

When he painted about the female body, his soul reached and supported by handsomeness as his male traits.

If we stare at it would be seen cold. But, when we watched more detail, there are breaths that live forever. Such as poetry it is perfect, unforgettable by the times.

That’s where the sphere of artwork is considered. The object is never end and keeps discovering and to be discussion continuously.

And when he painted the heroes or even statesman, He inserted the nobility (royal blood) of his on the undeniable great reflection, embedded the colors of his brush strokes.

Tinggalkan Balasan