Saturday, October 7, 2017

The “Ambassador’s Collection”: Collection of Emil Schamberger (lots #001-090 & 201-300)

The “Ambassador’s Collection”:
Collection of Emil Schamberger (lots #001-090 & 201-300)

Working as a young steward on a North German Lloyd passenger liner, in 1936 Emil Schamberger (Augsburg, 19 July 1920 - Weilheim, 10 December 1997) arrived in Shanghai for his very first time. Shanghai in the time of the “Roaring Thirties” was a world metropolis. Schamberger immideately became interested in Chinese art and traditions. He began to learn Chinese which he later spoke fluently, and started collecting Chinese art.

Continuing to work  on the passenger liner, by the late 1930s he became chief steward. He happened to be in Batavia during the outbreak of World War II in the Pacific (1942). he managed to escape Dutch internment by hiding with some of his Indonesian friends. When the Japanese occupied Java, he worked on German naval bases in Batavia and Surabaya.

Following the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August, the Japanese surrendered. This led to Indonesia’s Proclamation of Independence in on 17 August 1945.

Schamberger apparently joined the Indonesian freedom fighters in the struggle against the returning Allied Forces. However, a news article dated 17 January 1949 includes Emil Schamberger as one of the German “persons from Sarangan, housed in the Chassekamp in Batavia.” Following the Dutch recognition of Indonesia’s sovereignty in December 1949, Sukarno appointed Schamberger as manager and chef of a newly–built government guest house in Riung Gunung,  Tugu, in the mountain resort area known as Puncak, south of Jakarta. It is believed that there President Sukarno saw Emil Schamberger’s Chinese art collection and asked him for advice in buying Chinese art.

When the German economist, banker, politician, and co-founder of the German Democratic Party Hjalmar Schacht and his wife visited Indonesia in 1951 on the invitation of President Soekarno, they spent some time in the Riung Gunung guest house. They were quite surprised to be cared for by a fellow German, Emil Schamberger.

Diplomatic relations between Indonesia and Germany commenced in 1952. As a German citizen, Emil Schamberger helped in providing advise to the Federal Republic of Germany for their new  embassy on Jl. M.H. Thamrin, Jakarta.

Apparently Schamberger started working at the Embassy in Jakarta since it first opened. There he became acquainted with all the German ambassadors stationed in Indonesia over the following two decades. He became their close friend and unofficial advisor.

Around 1977 he was appointed to be stationed at  the Embassy of Germany in Beijing. It was during this time that most of his collection was brought together. He finally returned to Germany in 1985. As member of the diplomatic corps (CC) he was able to purchase and bring these art pieces out of China.
As he worked at the German embassy in Indonesia and China for extended periods of time, surpassing the time many ambassadors appointments there, people considered him as an unofficial “Ambassador”, and his art collection became known as the “Ambassador’s Collection“

Emil Schamberger passed away in Germany in 1997. His wife Elis Fatimah Schamberger brought the entire collection back to Indonesia. After her death in 2013, Schamberger’s nephew Hans-Joachim Loesche inherited the art collection.
At Emil Schamberger’s funeral,  one of the former Ambassadors with whom he worked, praised him:
“Emil Schamberger was the last  true Chinese and the best ’Ambassador of China’s Art’.“

Emil Schamberger’s art collection will be offered in two sessions of our Collectible’s sale, on 1 & 15 October 2017. We hope that his love of Chinese art can be continued by other collectors of today, and may they be able to enjoy the wonderful art pieces he collected through the years.

Session I

Session II

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Featured Paintings in Our Auction

(Lot #106)

Sigit Santosa, F. Bumi Yang Tersisa Bagi Anakku, 1997. oil on canvas (70cm x 70cm). Signed and dated on lower left: "Sigit Santosa 1997". 
A prime example of Indonesian contemporary art, this piece by Sigit Santosa addresses environmental issues and the social impact of global warming. Bumi Yang Tersisa Bagi Anakku (The Earth that is Left For My Child), discusses the inevitable infertility and pollution that our present generation will leave behind for future generations. 

Sigit Santosa is critical of contemporary issues concerning socio-politics in particular, using art as a medium to address these issues through conceptualisation. He does so through installations and sculptures as well as paintings. 

The woman in the centre overlooks the gates to a factory, dressed in an smooth green dress, clasping an evergreen in her hands. Her face is unknown to the audience, elusive and a stranger. She is with child as seen through her form, which suggests natural processes juxtaposed against an unnatural setting. The sky is blue but grim, with toxic waste coming out from the factory tower. The soil is barren and is devoid of plants littered with tree stumps.

With symbolic and careful composition, Sigit Santosa creates an atmosphere so grim in which he uses to foreshadow the inevitability of a toxic barren Earth if global warming were to continue. Using painting and art as his medium, this piece serves as a warning to humankind, a stellar example of critical postmodern painting. 

(Lot #108)
Nasirun. Mythological Scene, 2016. oil on canvas (90cm x 70cm). Signed and dated on lower right: "nsrun 2016".

Nasirun's work is, without a doubt, unworldly and always filled with colour and odd shapes. He is playful and experimental, especially seen through his bold use of colour and distorted figures. Nasirun, unshakeably Javanese, he gets inspiration from wayang, the art of traditional Indonesian shadow puppetry, an art so popular amongst the Javanese that it transcends into the creations of Indonesian contemporary artists. 

This influence is seen through the distorting of Nasirun's figures: disproportionate with wide eyes, large heads, small waists, fluid arms, and so forth as seen in this Mythological Scene. By doing so, he hopes to recontextualise and revive the traditional art form, by means of socio-political commentary and a hint of irony and humour as a means to criticise contemporary issues. 

His brushwork dances on the surface, expressive and impulsive, creating an unworldly atmosphere, as if looking into an entranced ritual. 

(Lot #110)

Heri Dono. Apapun Makannya Yang Penting Minumnya Teh Botol, 2006. acrylics on canvas (2006). Signed and dated on lower right: "heri dono 2006"

The artist who represented Indonesia and the Indonesian Pavilion at the 2015 Venice Biennale, Heri Dono shines through socio-political commentary with humour and parody. His comical style, his bright use of colours, his symbolism and his humour are all staples of the artist, as one can see within this painting. Born and raised in Yogyakarta, he was no stranger to the art of wayang as a child. He studied this art with a dalang, a master puppeteer, before pursuing a career in painting, and carried with him the philosophy, attributes and symbolism into his art. Needless to say, this deep influence of wayang mixed together with his comical and pop culture references, Heri Dono's works are never one devoid of meaning and concept. 

With Apapun Makannya Yang Penting Minumnya Teh Botol (Whatever You Eat What's Important is to Drink Teh Botol), a shining politician is seen grinning in the middle, identified with the peci, or hat, suit and tie. He has emblems on his forehead, hat and suit, alluding to prestige and accomplishment; however, these emblems include symbols such as a bottle and  that Heri puts forward as a subliminal meaning, playing around with the signifier and the signified.

The holistic colour scheme falls down to red and white, perhaps an allusion to the Indonesian flag, with black as an accessory of perhaps even an addition to his concept. Nevertheless, this pokes at our national integrity, 

(Lot #121)

Bunga Jeruk Permata Pekerti. Super Curators, 2002. oil on canvas (70cm x 70cm). Signed and dated on lower left: "Bunga 2002". 
Bunga Jeruk works in a youthful and colourful world of pop and humour. Her work bright and hopeful, especially seen through her subject matter, yet occasionally underpinned by socio-political commentary. 

With Super Curators, she pokes at the personality and individuality using signifiers: the rabbit on the shoulder and the halo that surround the two figures. The rabbit may allude to the magician's rabbit, or, paired with the adjacent halo, the idea of a devil and angel accompanying our person at all times. The silhouettes of these figures are devoid of identity and could be a personal reference to Bunga Jeruk herself. 

A simple yet ambiguous piece of work, this painting leaves the audience wondering and definitely a steal from this emerging contemporary artist.

(Lot #208)
SudarsoPerempuan Berpayung, 1969. oil on canvas (140cm x 80cm). Signed and dated on lower left: "Sudarso '69"

As a close comrade and Bung Karno's favorite painter back in the hay days, Sudarso is a painter of unparalleled qualities. His contemporaries were often swayed by Western artists such as Matisse and Van Gogh, yet Sudarso kept to his quaint and authentic Javanese style. He was commonly known amongst his peers and the art world as The Last Javanese Artist.

A man of deep Javanese roots, the principle subject matter of his works is mostly local women, sitting down and in traditional dress known as a kebaya. He appreciated beauty and harmony, and did so by engendering the humble beauty of his female models. Within his works, the majority of his models carry no expression; hands and legs are crossed, carrying with them a sense of a reserved and obedient disposition. 

However, with one of our featured lots, his Perempuan Berpayung (Girl Under an Umbrella), is an unusual piece: a typical Sudarso-esque female is present in the painting, dressed in traditional kebaya with a lush landscape behind her. However, unlike his other models, she is depicted standing in profile, keeping a sense of mystery to her identity and her intentions. Her face and expression are kept from the audience as she looks into the distance, as if about to embark on a journey outside of the frame. 

This piece is an extraordinary addition to our auction this year, as not only is this piece created by one of Indonesia's painterly masters and by the Last Javanese Artist, it invites the audience to wonder and contemplate about the subject matter as well as keeping the canonised stylistic integrity of the humble Sudarso.

(Lot #209)

Arifien Nief. Perayaan (Celebration), 1982. oil on canvas (50cm x 50cm). Signed and dated on lower right: "Nief '82 Perayaan"

"My imagination has great power. I rely on that power. I invent scenes from hazy memories in a manner that I would like to see them unfold."

Arifien Neif is an artist of an interesting integrity. A master of agility on the canvas and romanticized scenes and narratives, the world that Neif creates with a paintbrush is one of a kind. He explores the grey area between the empirical and the imagined, brought to life with detailed ornamentation of interiors, bodies shaped by human drama and mysticism. 

Made in the early 1980s, Perayaan (Celebration) is one of Neif's early works, wherein his style was still chromatically sombre and subjects inherently symbolic. He began to explore a more populous frame, his figures taking up a more heart-shaped anatomy. Here, they are allegorical in nature: some entirely human and some hybrids. These hybrid figures propose a philosophy or symbol that Neif himself used to explore, and here he suggests the complex inner lives of his subjects. Although strange, mysterious and puzzling, Neif's imagination towards the composition and creation of this bustling scene is [of high value]. 

Having moved to Jakarta alone and in poverty, he looked to the streets and nightlife to observe and paint. With this piece, a busy festive scene is seen, with banners to the left, the crowed over the bridge in the centre and a river to the right. The crowdedness and restlessness of the scene portrays the city's full-thronged dynamic, one Neif knows all too well. Nonetheless, he combines his documentation of such dynamic with an impartiality, one he mixes well with his imagination. 

Rich in symbolism, mysticism, vibrancy and the sombreness of his early works, Perayaan (Celebration), could be the quintessential Neif before he found his staple style as one of Indonesia's well-loved artists.

In Memory of Siti Latifah Herawati Diah (1917 – 2016), Patron of the Arts

(lots #051 - 053)

In late memory of Bu Siti Latifah Herawati Diah (1917 - 2016).
Image source:

Journalist and publisher Herawati Diah was known as avid patron of the arts, particularly for her role in the establishment of the Mitra Budaya Foundation in 1967. The Foundation raised funds and encouraged the Indonesian government to ask for UNESCO’s assistance to restore the Borobudur.

Born in Tanjung Pandan, Belitung, on April 3, 1917, she attended the Europeesche Lagere School in Jakarta and went to the American High School in Tokyo. She graduated from Barnard College in 1941, becoming the first Indonesian woman to graduate from a university in the United States.

Balinese Wedding Couple. 1990, oil on canvas (108cm x 80cm), Djaja Tjandra Kirana. Signed and dated in lower right: "Djaja Tjandra Kirana Bali 90". (Lot #051)

Upon her return to Indonesia in 1942, Herawati worked as a freelance reporter for the United Press International news wire, and later joined the Hosokyoku radio service. Later that year, he married Burhanuddin Muhammad Diah, a journalist at the Asia Raya newspaper.

Not long after the Proclamation of Indonesian Independence in 1945, BM Diah published the Harian Merdeka daily. Together, they published the Keluarga magazine in 1952. They also published the Indonesian Observer English newspaper, which was published and distributed for the first time during the Asian-African Conference in Bandung, West Java in 1955.

Flowers. 1980, oil on canvas (55cm x 65cm), Sri Yunnah. Signed and dated in lower left: "Sri Yunnah 1980". (Lot #052)

As she neared the age of 90, she established the Lingkar Budaya Indonesia foundation along with her friends. An active community and institution, it aims to preserve traditional Indonesian culture through art fairs (pementasan seni-budaya) and active intellectual discussions.

She passed away on at the age of 99 on September 30, 2016. Even just months before her death, she continued to be an avid supporter of the arts, often seen attending musical and theatrical performances in Jakarta.

Women Going to the Market. 1990, oil on canvas (80cm x 120cm), Diany Asmina Sinung. Signed and dated in lower right: "Diany '90". (Lot #053)

Three paintings from her collection (lots #051 - 053 ) are offered in this auction. Proceeds from the sale will benefit Yayasan Bina Carita, a foundation that Herawati Diah established to help children of need in Indonesia.

A Tribute to S. Hadi Asmara

(lots #193 - 196)

Among the numerous noteworthy Indonesian artists that have created great artworks over the years, very few are privileged to obtain appropriate recognition. Many or even most get neglected and forgotten forever.  

Fortunately for sculptor and painter S. Hadi Asmara, during a visit his dear friend Affandi decided to make a painting of him. On the painting, dated 1962, the maestro even wrote “Sdr. S. Hadi dengan model2nya” (“Camarade S. Hadi with his models”). Affandi then presented it as a gift to Hadi Asmara and it remained in the younger artist’s collection for decades.
In the late 1990s or early 2000s, a prominent collector was interested in S. Hadi Asmara’s monumental sculpture, Men Brayut. When he visited the sculptor’s family to view the piece, he noticed Affandi’s portrait of the sculptor. The painting affirmed the artist’s prominence in the artworld, and the collector made his decision to purchase the sculpture. He purchased the painting as well.

Born in 1915/1922, S. Hadi Asmara was considered as a self taught artist. However, he did study monumental art and the relationship between art and architecture at the Academy of San Carlos, Mexico City. He works have been exhibited in Veracruz (1962), Lima, Peru (1963) as well as at the Sala International of the Palacio de Bellas Artes, Mexico City, 1964.

He participated in the First Exhibition of Contemporary Indonesian Sculpture in 1973, held at the Taman Ismail Marzuki in Jakarta.
In the exhibition catalog, he explained his works as:
“Along with a syncretistic attitude with which I attempt to integrate the good aspects in each work of art with my personal aesthetic convictions, every single work of mine is related to actual events. To discover the particular characteristics of materials is the starting-point of my work. I found dramatic impact in Henry Moore’s sculpture, lyric-poetic elements in Barbara Hepworth, and monumentalism in Goeritz work. I attempt to integrate three elements.”

Planned Parenthood. wood, 109cm in height. Asmara, S. Hadi. Publication: Pameran Pertama Patung Kontemporer Indonesia, Marah Joenes, Jakarta 1973. (Lot #196)

The sculptor passed away in 1976. Other than the entry in the First Exhibition of Contemporary Indonesian Sculpture in 1973, not much further information about S. Hadi Asmara is available. Affandi’s portrait of the artist in many ways provides the artist with recognition,and should trigger new interest in the artist. One of S. Hadi Asmara’s painting was featured in Sidharta Auctioneer’s Fine Art auction in 2006.

In this auction, in addition to Affandi’s portrait of the artist, a number of other works, are offered, including a painting and two sculptures. Although hitherto not much has been written about the artist, we hope that collectors and museum curators will soon realize that S. Hadi Asmara is an Indonesian artist worthy of note and worth collecting.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Property of a Gentleman

(lots # 022 - 050)

Sometimes art collections get passed on from generation to generation, but of late more often than otherwise, collections get offered through auctions. This becomes an excellent chance for collectors to add some very nice and interesting pieces into their collection.

The opportunity becomes even better if the collector is someone who are true collectors in the conventional sense. True conventional collectors tend to make their acquisitions based on their aesthetic tastes. They do not make purchases based on any interest of making economic gains in the future. They concentrate on the artistic value that they will be able to enjoy while they are in possession of the artworks.
The true conventional collectors’ pursuit for artistic value often lead them to acquire great works by masters, even though they might not be the “top ten” masters by art market standards.

Amidst the twenty nine salient works by Abdullah Suriosubroto, Gustave Bettinger, Willem Dooijewaard, Otto Djaya, Ken Pattern, Suminto, Tatang Kuntjoro, and Tio Tjay in the collection, there are great pieces by Gerard Adolfs, Ong Kiem Seng, and Ida Bagus Made Poleng.

Gerard Adolfs’s Adorned Figure (lot #036) is a gouache on paper piece depicting an lavishly dressed figure. Ong Kiem Seng’s large watercolor (#045), depicts a temple at Bhaktapur’s Durbar Square. Many structures on the square were later damaged by a major earthquake in 2015. In the collection there are also vivid paintings of flowers by Dutch artists and Piet Van Wyngaert (#048) Johan Dijkstra  (#049). The painting by Ida Bagus Made (#050) depicts an elaborate Melasti purification scene, artistically composed in a setting by the sea. As his works are rarely offered in the market, we are quite happy to obtain it from the collector and present it for sale in our auction this time.

Melasti. tempera on cloth (55cm x 68cm), Poleng, Ida Bagus Made. Signed lower left: "Ida Bagus Made". (Lot #050)

The placement of the resplendent pieces in this auction provides a nice opportunity for collectors active today to enrich their collections with works of remarkable artistic value.

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Abas Alibasjah | Sidharta Fine Art Auction 20 November & 11 December 2016

Lot #333, Abas Alibasyah, Scenery

Abas Alibasyah  
(Purwakarta, W. Java, 1928 - Jakarta, 2016)

In the 1990s, Abas Alibasyah was most famous for his paintings of rather surrealistic masks and landscapes, but his works could not be easily categorized as coming from the Yogya school of Surrealism nor Decorativism. Devoid of human figure, his landscapes seemed to reveal the artist's melancholy. Although his masks seem to suggest human presence, they also enhance the melancholic spirit of his paintings.

While in Session I, there is a painting entitled Flowers and Mask dating from 1989 (lot #112), in this section there are four other relatively early Abas Alibasjah paintings from two collections. Mascot, 1969 (lot #331) Abstraksi Warna, 1967 (lot # 332) are typical of his paintings from the 1960s, in which the artist seemed to explore colorist abstraction.

Scenery, 1971 (lot #333) is a predecessor of his later melancholic and rather surrealistic landscapes that are devoid of human figures. In this painting, the landscape appears more realistic,  but no less haunting. Somehow it seems to remind us not to neglect our environment.

Last but not least, Cili, 1991 (lot #334) also seems to be a predecessor of his later paintings of masks. The painting extends the artist's exploration of abstraction while including the mask as an icon. Hence, the painting appears more of an artistic expression rather than a realistic description of the subject matter.

Lot #112, Abas Alibasyah, Flower and Mask

Lot #331, Abas Alibasyah, Mascot

Lot #332, Abas Alibasyah, Abstraksi Warna

Lot #334, Abas Alibasyah, Cili

Artworks by Tionghoa (Indonesians of Chinese Descent) Painters (lots #355 - 371)

Lot #360, Lim Kwie Bing, Gunung Kawi Bali

Lot #127, Lim Wasim, Pendet Dancer

Artworks by Tionghoa (Indonesians of Chinese Descent) Painters

(lots #355 - 371)

The Tionghoa (Indonesians of Chinese descent) played an important role in shaping the

history of Indonesian art. As early as 1955, Lee Man Fong already held an exhibition at the

Kolff Bookstore in Batavia and participated in an exhibition that was held by the Dutch

Indies Art Association at Hotel Des Indes the following year.

Lot #358, Lee Man Fong, Bunga Kembang Sepatu

The Indonesian Proclamation of Independence in 1945, was followed the Indonesian

Revolutionary War in 1945-49 and eventually the Dutch recognition of Indonesian

sovereignity at the end of 1949. In 1955, along with other Tionghoa figures and artists, Lee

Man Fong established an organization called Yin Hua Meishu Xiehui (The Organization of

Indonesian Chinese Artists) in Jakarta. They held their first exhibition in January 1956.

Among the names listed as members (other than Lee Man Fong), are Tjio Tek-Djin (whose

portrait by Trubus Soedarsono appears in lot #073 of this auction), and Lim Kwie Bing who

was known to have also chaired the Tsing Feng She and M.M Art Club in Malang. Later on,

Lim Wa Sim also joined Yin Hua.

Lot #355, Lim Wasim, Mencari Kutu

As the definition of national art was never conclusively formulated, the complexity

of the Tionghoa identity (being a mixture or cross section of Indonesian and Chinese),

actually contributed to the diversity of national aesthetics stated Brigitta Isabella, a

researcher who has done research on Yin Hua. Lee Man Fong, for example, often painted

Indonesian subject matter using the hanging scroll format of Chinese landscape painting.

Yet, his European training and aesthetics further complicated and at the same time enrich

the enculturation.

In this auction section we feature the works by several Tionghoa artists, including some

historic works. Liem Kwie Bing's Boy with Kite (lot #369) dates from 1947, while Lee Man

Fong's drawing of a Buddha Figure (lot #357) dates from 1958. Lim Wa Sim's Mencari Kutu

(lot #355), Anton Huang's sketch of a Balinese market scene (lot #364), and Lim Kwie Bing's

intricate renditions of Balinese rituals (lots #370 & 371) all date from the 1960s and '70s).

Lee Man Fong's impressionistic Bunga Kembang Sepatu (lot #358), Liem Tjoe Ing's and From

the 1980s are among others Huang Fong's expressive renditions of horses (lot #359, 360 &

362), Adam Lay's serene painting of gold fish (lot #361), Huang Fong's elegant painting of a

Balinese dancer (lot #365), Liem Tjoe Ing's painting of fishermen by the beach (lot #366).

and his watercolor of reliefs of a Javanese temple (lot #367).

Lot #369, Lim Kwie Bing, Boy and Kite

Lot #365, Huang Fong, Siap Menari (Legong)

Although not grouped in this section, there are a number of other Tionghoa artists whose

works appear here. Among the woman artists, Maria Tjui (whose painting appears in lot

#115), is a Tionghoa artist famous for her expressiveness in her art, and also Ivan Sagito

(whose painting appears in lot #343), was very influential in the development of

Contemporary Indonesian art in the 1980s and 1990s.

Each Indonesian Chinese artist, with their unique cultural paradigms, contributes to the

diversity of Indonesian art.

lot #356, Lim Kwie Bing, Gadis Bali

Lot #357, Lee Man Fong, Budai

Lot #359, Liem Tjoe Ing, Kuda #1

Lot #360, Liem Tjoe Ing, Kuda #2

Lot #361, Adam Lay, Goldfish

Lot #362, Huang Fong, The Power of Spirit

Lot #363, Tatang Kuntjoro, By the Riverside

Lot #364, Anton Huang, Sketsa Pasar

Lot #366, Liem Tjoe Ing, Nelayan

Lot #367, Liem Tjoe Ing, Relief Candi

Lot #368, Liem Tjoe Ing, Lumbung

Lot #371, Lim Kwie Bing, Temple Ceremony