Lot 8
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Indonesian Art Sale | 8 September 2021
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Rudolf Bonnet (1895-1975)

A macaw on a branch

signed 'R Bonnet' (lower right)

oil on canvas, unframed, 82x61 cm

Provenance: -Theodurus Jan de Maaré, Director of NV Koninklijke Fabriek van Verbandstoffen v/h Utermöhlen & Co., Medan (1918-1932), thence by decent to the present owner.

A particularly early bird.

A most interesting work of the virtuoso Rudolf Bonnet. Bonnet is famous for his breathtaking aesthetic drawings of the human figure. Particularly his Balinese works are sought after. One can think of the beautiful portrait of ‘Devi Sita’ which changed hands for €70,000 in our November 2020 auction. Time and again, Bonnet succeeds in giving personality to the depicted figure. One time quiet and dreamy, the other time theatrical and blazing with energy with all imaginable nuances in between.

The work in this auction is exceptional in both medium and subject matter: a colourful painting by the artist of whom we know mainly monochrome drawings: an animal depiction by the artist of human figures. We do not immediately expect an Amazon macaw as a subject from the artist. Yet Ruud Spruit, in his book ‘Artists on Bali’, mentions drawings of parrots and monkeys. We are most likely dealing with an early work here from the Amsterdam period that was painted after a visit to a zoo, possibly Artis Zoo. The exotic bird with his size and intense coloured plumage makes a striking appearance against a decorative background of caladium leaves.

At an early age Bonnet knew he wanted to be an artist and even despite initial resistance from his father, Bonnet was accepted into the Hendrick de Keyser School of Amsterdam in 1911. This was not before his father, with son Rudolf, had asked his good friend and art dealer Bert Voskuil for advice. Voskuil ‘saw something in the work of young Bonnet’ (H. de Roever p. 16). On the reverse side of the stretcher of this work is a label of ‘Schouten & Voskuil’. In those early years of his artistic career, Voskuil delivered canvases and stretcher cases to Bonnet. In 1913 he furthered his education at the Rijksschool for Kunstnijverheid. Rudolf also attended the evening school at the Rijksacademie van Beeldende Kunsten and completed the day class of the decorative department of the School for Architecture, Decorative Arts and Artistic Crafts in Haarlem as his fourth course in 1916 (H. de Roever p.16). With this sound training behind him he began his life as an independent artist in 1917. A period in which he went in search of his own way of representation, both in technique and choice of subject matter.

The decorative nature of the depiction, such as the expressive use of colour in the feather headdress together with the structure of the foliage, shows how the artisanal education influenced the imagination of the still young artist Rudolf Bonnet. He is primarily a draughtsman; oil painting are a rarity in his oeuvre. This work, now on offer, is an exceptional highlight from the early days of this remarkable artist.

Source: -H. de Roever-Bonnet, ‘Rudolf Bonnet – een zondagskind’ Pictures Publishers, Wijk en Aalburg, 1993. -Ruud Spruit, ‘Artists on Bali’, The Pepin Press, Amsterdam 1995-1997.

For this artist resale right is applicable from €2400 hammer price onwards

€ 6.000,00
€ 8.000,00
€ 28.000,00

Hamerprijs: € 28.000

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