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 Sindudarsono Sudjojono  (1914 - 1985)

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Lived/Active: Indonesia      Known for: modernist painting and drawing, figure, genre, still life and landscape

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from Auction House Records.
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Please note: Artists not classified as American in our database may have limited biographical data compared to the extensive information about American artists.

Sindudarsono Sudjojono, who was born and deceased in Kisaran, North Sumatra, Indonesia, first studied from Javanese artist Mas Pringadi (1875-1936) and Japanese painter Chiyoyi Yazaki. In 1937 he helped to establish Persatuan Ahli-Ahli Gambar Indonesia (Persagi, Union of Indonesian Painters) and was its spokesman.

He was a pionner in the development of modern Indonesian painting and encouraged artists to abandon the romantic colonial Mooi Indie (Beautiful Indies) style in favor of a national approach which showed the real Indonesian spirit.

After his death his home in Jakarta became the Museum Padangwangi.

His works often show simple villagers, old people, and difficult social condition.

Piagam Anugerah Seni (Indonesia, 1970),

Fukuoka Art Museum (Japan, 1980), Festival of Indonesia (U.S.A., 1990-1992), Gate Foundation (Amsterdam, Holland, 1993), Singapore Art Museum (1994), Center for Strategic and International Studies (Jakarta, Indonesia, 1996), ASEAN Masterworks (Selangor, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, 1997-1998).

"Sindudarsono Sudjojono", Neka Art Museum,

Biography from Tobin Reese Fine Art:
Please note: Artists not classified as American in our database may have limited biographical data compared to the extensive information about American artists.

Sindudarsono Sudjojono is a legendary painter in his native Indonesia. He was an Indonesian nationalist, a modernist painter, writer, teacher, art critic, and considered by some to be a political activist. He has been dubbed “The Father of Modern Indonesian Art” and signed his paintings “S. Sudjojono”. Much of his art was an indirect political commentary on the struggles of the Indonesian people against colonialism. His patriotism for his country and his desire to break away from the stereotypical subjects common in Southeast Asian art (e.g., coconut trees, rice fields, and volcanoes) were the strongest influences on his work. He strove to reflect the social realities of Indonesian life and culture during the nation’s colonial and early independence periods in a different way than most artists of his time. For example, his painting titled Bis Kota (“Public Bus”) shows the daily struggles related to transportation in a dense city center.

Sudjojono was born in North Sumatra in 1913. Yudhokusumo, the father of artist Kartono, provided Sudjojono with his first instruction in art. Sudjojono then studied painting with Mas Pirngadi and Chioyoji Yazaki, a Japanese artist. He received formal education at the Taman Siswa Teachers’ College in Yogyakarta. In 1931, he was offered a commission to open a school in Rogojampi, Banyuwangi, however he rejected the offer and decided to pursue painting.

In 1937, Sudjojono and Agus Djaja co-founded PERSAGI (the Persatuan Ahli-ahli Gambar Indonesia or “Indonesian Drawing Masters Association), a group committed to moving Indonesian art in a new and modern direction, away from the “Mooi Indie” style popular with Europeans and an artifice to the harsh realities of colonialism. He did not hope to spark tourism to Southeast Asia with beautiful landscape paintings of mountains and beaches, but rather to draw attention to the intellectualism of the native peoples through his figures and landscapes.

Two of his paintings from 1964, Pertemuan di Tjikampek (“A Meeting in Cikampek”) and Ngaso (“Take a Break”), manifest this aspiration. According to the Dutch critics, his first exhibition, hosted by the Bataviaasche Kunstring (Batavian Art Circle) in 1941, was unsuccessful. The critics predictably suggested that the participating Indonesian artists would be more effective and respected if they more closely emulated and studied the European artists of their time. Sudjojono remaining true to his commitment to modernize Indonesian art, continued to paint a diverse set of images throughout his career including Balinese still-lifes from the New Order period, nudes, landscapes, and flowers. He also painted a series of portraits that included his wife, children, and fellow master painters as subjects.

The political unrest of the 1950s led Sudjojono to work with the Communist Party sponsored by the People's Cultural Institute. He quickly moved up in—and out of—the party’s hierarchy and he was voted into Parliament in 1955, but expelled three years later, possibly due to the marriage to his second wife Rose Pandanwangi (both Sudjojono and Rose were married to others at the time). In 2006, Rose opened the S. Sudjojono Center so that people could educate themselves about her late husband, who she said was not only a painter, but also a philosopher. “He thought a lot of things about Indonesia, hoping the country could be equal with other countries. Not just that, he also had so many ideas in his mind about his family, his friends and arts, and put all that into writing,” she said.

A special exhibition titled, “S. Sudjojono: Art, Life and Legacy” marked the centennial of the artist’s birth in 2013 and was held at the Pakarti Center in Tanah Abang, Central Jakarta. The paintings featured in this exhibition were gathered from private collections, the National Gallery, the Fine Arts and Ceramic Museum in Jakarta, and the permanent collections of the S. Sudjojono Center. The public had never before seen some of the works shown, including photographs, writings, and letters. Exhibitions of Sudjojono’s works have been held in the Netherlands, the Fukuoka Art Museum in Japan, and Singapore.

The Jakarta History Museum has held what some critics argue as Sudjojono’s most famous painting, The Battle Between Sultan Agung and JP Coen (1973, oil), since 1974. This work was commissioned by the Governor of Jakarta at the time for the museum’s grand opening and portrays the historically significant battle between the Mataram Kingdom and the Dutch colonial government that took place in Batavia (now Jakarta). Sudjojono conducted three months of research in Holland to ensure an accurate depiction of the event and took one year to complete the 3x10 meter painting.

Sudjojono continued to actively paint until his death due to complications from lung cancer in 1985. He finished painting Tempat Mandi di Pinggir Laut (“Bathing Place on Shore”) and Corak Seni Lukis Indonesia Baru (“New Indonesia Art Motifs”) days before his death.

Source: Kristin Guess for Tobin Reese Fine Art

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