411
411
Hendra Gunawan
BY THE BEACH
Estimate
1,200,0002,200,000
LOT SOLD. 3,750,000 HKD
JUMP TO LOT
411
Hendra Gunawan
BY THE BEACH
Estimate
1,200,0002,200,000
LOT SOLD. 3,750,000 HKD
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

Modern and Contemporary Southeast Asian Art

|
Hong Kong

Hendra Gunawan
1918-1983
BY THE BEACH
Signed and dated 76
Oil on canvas
86 by 147 cm; 33 3/4  by 57 3/4  in. 
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Provenance

Private Asian Collection

Catalogue Note

By the Beach is a vibrant work by Hendra Gunawan, an artist who still holds the imagination and fascination of so many lovers of Indonesian art. The composition serves as an allegory of the tenacity and strength of Indonesian women – a subject the artist often painted as he insisted on the beauty of his people and their land. Through stylized, exaggerated figures, Hendra captured intimate close-ups of Indonesian life, actively engaging humanity and empathy. Like many of the works within his opus, the lounging women  in the present lot become the subject of a painting rife with meaning; one that celebrates life’s moments through a depiction of social gathering, individual reflection and active daydreaming – serving as a historical and contemporary emblem of rural existence in Indonesia.

 

Hendra plays with multiple contrasts within his painting. The bending of colors in a dazzling energy dance on the generous slopes of prints and patterns, alongside elongated, sinuous movements of the women’s fingers and sarongs makes for an exquisite composition that captures the rich vocabulary of their body language and elegant gesturing. Hendra dwelled on the looks and dress of his country’s people, seeking to translate the vivid colors of their dress, their hair, or the warmth of their skin into paint and imaginative form. Deep, turquoise blues accompanied by peachy skies convey a lushness of both the tropics and the land itself, seducing the viewer into Hendra’s creative genius that seamlessly melds together dynamism, balance, familiarity and emotion.

 

Perhaps it is a profound paradox that Hendra’s paintings are rendered so energetically, despite the colonial oppression and poverty experienced by his countrymen and women. Or perhaps, Hendra’s paintings, the creating of which sustained him when nothing else could, are celebrations of his people’s tenacity and strength despite harsh wartime occupation. Thus, in his work, the women are portrayed as active, strong and nurturing as Hendra innately recognizes that they are the glue that holds the societies and communities of his country together.

Upon viewing the work, one’s spirit is pulled into motion. The artist has a way of monumentalizing his land and its people, securing a personal visual language like no other. It is no wonder then, that Hendra is frequently cited as the master of first-generation Indonesian modernists, and this season, Sotheby’s is proud to announce By the Beach as another gift of history from this prolific artist.

Modern and Contemporary Southeast Asian Art

|
Hong Kong