Lot 455
  • 455

Srihadi Sudarsono

380,000 - 550,000 HKD
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  • Srihadi Sudarsono
  • Mt. Merapi And Borobudur: State Of Meditation
  • Signed and dated 2006; Signed, titled and dated 2006 on the reverse
  • Oil on canvas
  • 130 by 120 cm.; 51 by 47 1/4 in.


Private Collection, Singapore


Singapore Art Museum, Drawing Ground: Srihadi Soedarsono / Chua Ek Kay, Singapore, 23 Novermber 2006 - 15 January 2007


Farida Srihadi and Agust Dermawan T.  Srihadi Soedarsono: Timeless Space (Ruang dan Waktu Tanpa Batas), Jakarta, 2006, Illustrated on the Front Cover and P. 34

Linda Poh, Drawing Ground: Srihadi Soedarsono / Chua Ek Kay, Gajah Gallery, Singapore, 2006, P. 26 - 27


The painting is in good condition overall. The canvas is clear and taut. Indication of light wear and handling is evident around the edges of the painting due to the mounting of the frame, however paint layers are well preserved. Examination under ultraviolet light shows no signs of restoration. Framed.
"In response to your inquiry, we are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Sotheby's is merely a subjective, qualified opinion. Prospective buyers should also refer to any Important Notices regarding this sale, which are printed in the Sale Catalogue.

Catalogue Note

A prolific artist whose oeuvre is reflective of the transitions in Indonesian modern art, Srihadi Sudarsono is respected for his introductory use of abstract styles and aesthetics within the country’s modernist movement, while conversely deviating from these aesthetics a few years later to embrace expressionist ideals in his artworks. Srihadi is perceived as a colorist artist, for his paintings are vibrant portraits that use colors to emphasize the underlining messages within the works. The present work Mt. Merapi and Borobudur: State of Meditation perfectly exemplifies the artist’s styles, and favored motifs that inspired his oeuvre.

As a student of S. Sudjojono, a national artist who transformed Indonesian modern art with his realist landscapes and narratives, Srihadi’s early career was largely influenced by his mentor’s creative and political ideals. However, unlike the older artist who painted pastoral scenes, Srihadi chose to fill the landscapes of his works with vivid colors, and energetic brushstrokes, as means to convey his emotions to the audience.

Together with the shift of artistic sensibilities in his paintings, Srihadi’s choice of subject matters also changed, as the artist matured and his paradigms evolved. Mt. Merapi and Borobudur: State of Meditation represents these changes in the artist’s chosen motifs, and shows a deliberate divorce from the abstract styles that embodied Srihadi’s earlier works. The painting is a depiction of the famous 9th century Mahayana Buddhist temple that is located in Java, with the volcano Gunung Merapi visible in the distance.

The artist’s Borobudur/Merapi works may be viewed as “…visual elegies that evoke notions of infinity and the sacramental. They are at once visionary, luminous and engulfing. That such restraint can, also effectively generate this ‘epic quality’, eliciting a sense of awe, attests to Srihadi’s command of the media and the message. These works are celebrated as his tour de force series. [His] reputation as a brilliant colorist is also nowhere more persuasive than in these series where his choice of colors, (the uncommon violet for landscapes), saturation and contrast of colors (for instance the orb of white for the moon in the pitch dark sky) effectively heighten the drama of these scenes. Borobudur and the gunung emerge as silhouettes, haloed by an electrifying charge that radiates into the darkness”1.

Throughout his oeuvre, Srihadi has dedicated his paintings to the Javanese culture, a reference to the artist’s personal history, values, and ultimately to his own rasa, also known as the Javanese code for behavior. As stated by the Australian scholar Paul Stange, “Rasa is both the substance, and at the same time the essence, of what we perceive and understand, and the vibration of the bodily components that perceives it… It is the means that we use to understand the truth of our inner self”2.

Within this context, the present work takes on an even greater meaning. The scene that is shown in Mt. Merapi and Borobudur: State of Meditation may be an extension of the artist’s identity. The physical presence of the landscape a metaphor for the thoughts Srihadi wants to express, and share with the public. 

1Linda Poh, Srihadi Soedarsono and Chua Ek Kay: Drawing Ground, Gaja Gallery, Singapore, 2006, p. 3

2Jean Couteau, Srihadi Soedarsono: The Path of the Soul, Lontar Foundation, Jarkarta, 2003, p. 3.