Thursday, July 6, 2017

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.

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