Lot 87
Indonesian Art Sale | 18 November 2020
Henk Ngantung (1921–1991)

A port / Pelabuhan

signed 'Henk Ngantung' (lower left)

oil on canvas, 54x74 cm

Hendrik Hermanus Joel Ngantung (1921–1991) is better known as Henk Ngantung: an Indonesian painter and politician of Minahasan descent. He was appointed Deputy Governor by President Sukarno and then became Governor of Jakarta briefly between 1964 and 1965; the first Christian of the Catholic faith to hold this important post in predominantly Muslim Indonesia.

He became Deputy Governor of Jakarta during the reign of governor Soemarno Sosroatmodjo. President Sukarno entrusted him to turn Jakarta into a city of culture based on his work as an artist. After holding the post of deputy governor from 1960 to 1964, he succeeded Soemarno Sosroatmodjo as governor of Jakarta but very briefly 1964–1965 before Soemarno Sosroatmodjo retook the position in 1965 again briefly until 1966. His appointment was vehemently opposed to his left-wing ideology with some opponents accusing him of being a communist.

From 1965 onwards, he dedicated his life to the arts. He lived in poverty and suffered bad health. He lost his eyesight completely in his right eye, and had only 30% vision in the left eye, but continued painting with great difficulty. In 1990, the Indonesian businessman and philanthropist Ciputra sponsored Henk Ngantung's one and only official exhibition just a month before his death on 12 December 1991.

His piece-de-resistance, Memanah (archer) became an icon of the new independent Republic of Indonesia. The Memanah painting can be seen witnessing the Proclamation of Independence on 17 August 1945. As Sukarno stood in front of the veranda of his house, reading aloud the words of the proclamation; behind him, on the wall of the veranda, the painting appeared enhancing the spirit of the nation. The work on sale depicts an expressive harbour scene done in broad brushstrokes and vivid colours.

€ 800,00
€ 1.200,00
€ 600,00

Hamerprijs: € 600