Lot 147
Indonesian Art Sale 2018
Harijadi Sumadidjaja (1921-1997)

Portrait of a young woman

signed 'S Harijadi' and dated '53' (lower right)

oil on canvas, 48x38 cm

Provenance: -Possibly bought directly from the artist by the father of the present owner, Mr Klaas Jan Bas (1913-2002).

Arriving as a 22 year old in the Dutch East Indies, Mr Bas continued his career as bookseller for G. Kolff & Co, Batavia. He succeeded in growing the company by focusing on selling to Indonesians rather than to Dutch clients.

In 1947 he became president of a publishing company in Jakarta, which aimed to publish books by Indonesian writers as well as Indonesian textbooks. This company was part of the Yayasan Pembangunan Foundation (Stichting Opbouw). After the Independence of Indonesia the publishing company expanded its activities by launching bookshops for the Indonesian people with books for the general public and scientific books. Prime Minister Mohammed Hatta visited Mr Bas’ bookshop in 1949, and lamented the dearth of books in Yogyakarta due to the so-called ‘police actions’ which divided Java in two. Mr Bas organised a plane that brought books to Yogyakarta and opened a bookshop there under the protection of Hatta. It was an immediate success.

Mr Bas was now managing two successful bookshops, one in Jakarta and one in Yogyakarta. However, books were sought after in all of Java. How could these potential readers be reached? There were thoughts about a bus with books, but the roads were in poor condition, and the safety of the drivers and employees could not be guaranteed. Mr Bas contacted the president of the Indonesian Railway Company, who welcomed the idea of a mobile bookshop with open arms. A special railcar was refurbished for the reading and selling of books. The train stopped in many places in Java, a journey that lasted 10 months. Then, after two months of maintenance, the journey started again with a new supply of books. This book train, Kereta Buku Pembangunan, rode its circle four times between 1951 and 1954. Everywhere the train stopped people gathered. They came to read and buy Indonesian books or to see the movies that were projected from one of the railcars. Groups gathered around the carriages, where food and drinks were offered by local sellers, and a festive mood arose.

After Mr Bas’ return to the Netherlands in 1954, the company ceased to exist.

€ 1.500,00
€ 2.000,00
€ 1.200,00

Hamerprijs: € 1.200