Lot 51
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Indonesian Art Sale | 18 November 2020
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Roland Strasser (1895-1974)

A Balinese Legong dancer

signed 'Strasser' (lower right)

oil on canvas, 101x56 cm

Provenance: -Former collection of the late Dr. P.F.J. Cuypers.

Pieter Frans Jozef Cuypers (1896 -1971) was born in Hanyang, now part of Wuhan, China. After his medical study, Cuypers moved to the Dutch East Indies in 1925 or 1926. In 1928 he was in Mataram, Lombok, and thereafter in Malang. From 1934 until May 1935 he worked as a doctor with the Public Health Service for the Central Citizens Hospital of Soerabaja. On May 2, 1935 he was appointed as Physician-Director of the Provincial Hospital in Pamekasan. Because he contracted the infection tuberculosis (TBC), he returned to Belgium in 1938 and there he followed in his father’s footsteps as a doctor in Oostham.

Cuypers must have known the painters Strasser and Dooyewaard. His legacy included a portrait of himself painted by Strasser. He passed away in Oostham on 11 April 1971.

´In “Legong” the artist shows the graceful movement and gestures of a little dancer, dressed in the rich crimson and gold fabric of the Balinese. The exhibition is open until the 12th October; we highly recommend everyone to pay a visit to this exhibition. It isn’t often that one gets to see such strong-life paintings here.´ This is what the journalist, W.C.B. of the Indische Courant, wrote on the 6th November, 1938 about the exhibition of the works of Roland Strasser on display at the Art Society in Batavia. It is possible that in this quote he was describing the painting of a little ‘Legong’ dancer that is on offer in this auction; in any case, it describes a painting of the same model who is portrayed as ‘Legong’ in the well-known book by J.P. Koenraads about the Dooijewaard brothers.*

The Indische Courant’s reviewer begins his above-mentioned article with a short account of Strasser’s artistic background. ‘Roland Strasser is a lover of the East and of Asian people. His preference is to paint Eastern characters and with that goal in mind he has travelled around various parts of Asia for many years, as was reported in this journal recently. He has seen the Mongolian Steppe and the jungles of New Guinea; of late he has been in Bali, and this exhibition is witness to that. The painter rightly deserves to be acclaimed as an international artist, not only by virtue of his wanderings, but also because he is the son of a Spaniard and a French mother and attended art school in Vienna, having firstly learned from this own father, Arthur Strasser, who was a well-known sculptor at the time.

The influence of that early education can still be seen in the way that Roland Strasser treats his subjects and figures. One can recognise the eye of a sculptor, who sees the person first and foremost as a piece of sculpture.’ The sculptural quality in Strasser’s work comes clearly to the fore in this painting of a Balinese dancer. The elegant body control that characterizes this figure is caught in a timeless pose against a peaceful background as a symbol of grace.

*J.P. Koenraads, De Gebroeders Jacob en Willem Dooijewaard, Hilversum 1966, p.98. ill.

Voor deze kunstenaar is volgrecht van toepassing.

€ 22.000,00
€ 28.000,00
€ 30.000,00

Hamerprijs: € 30.000

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