Private Collection, USA (acquired directly from the artist, circa 1963)
Private Collection, USA (by descent from the above)
Acquired by the present owner from the above
"In this life, I have met with many conflicts... In my sculptures, dynamics is the same as motion. And vitality is achieved only if those conflicts are broken through."
But Mochtar's works, both two and three dimensional, exhibit his exposure to aesthetics of Modernism from the West, embracing the craggy texture of Giacometti's sculpture and Henry Moore's genius at creating a balanced composition. But Mochtar studied painting at the Bandung Institute of Technology and studied sculpture at the Rhode Island School of Design in Providence from 1960-1961, Sculpture Center of New York from 1961 to 1962, and as a research fellow at MIT from 1961 to 1963. In 1984 he became the first director of ISI (Indonesia Institute of the Arts) in Yogyakarta and was one of the most respected Indonesian modernist of his time.
Executed circa 1960s, Harmonious Family embodies the balanced, architectural structure that became pivotal to the artist's iconography. The surface seems to be weathered, eroded, and pared down to its most elemental structure, yet this appearance of brittleness is deftly countered by its petrified form, which lends a sense of strength and endurance to the work. The subject matter of family was one of Mochtar's chief preoccupations throughout his long career and Harmonious Family is emblematic of its importance in the artist's vision as life's core foundation and pillar of fortitude against all external forces.
Five Women is a beautifully rendered composition that illustrates But Mochtar's expert handling of shape and structure. Composed entirely of linear and curvilinear components, the five figures in the picture plane are filled with lively shades of bubblegum pink , tangerine, lime and emerald against aubergine and ochre, which create a beautiful mosaic. The palette is a great departure from the grey tones that characterize his sculptures. The contrast between these two works shows the complimentary nature of Mochtar's painting and sculpture. Together, the combination of lines, patterns, shapes and textures of Harmonious Family and Five Women exhibit But Mochtar's discerning and innovative eye for rhythm and dynamism and this achievement underscores his crucial role in Modern Indonesian Art.
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