Auction - Another rare S Sudjojono at Sotheby's on Oct 4

Sotheby’s Hong Kong will hold its Modern and Contemporary Southeast Asian Paintings Autumn sale on October 4, offering works with a total estimate in excess of $3.9 million. Leading the sale will be A New Dawn by the Indonesia master S. Sudjojono. The new painting was executed in 1956, a period marked by Sudjojono’s deepening involvement in politics and restlessness, which led to a body of many unfinished works. The large work is one of the rare paintings that the artist completed during this period. Depicting the morning rituals of a village, three central figures of different genders and generations stand side by side gazing at the dawn of a new day. Created the same year that Indonesia severed its last ties as a colony from the Netherlands and during the time when Sudjojono began his relationship with the love of his life, Rose Pandanwangi, the painting speaks of new beginnings, hope and progress. A work of importance on both an art historical and personal level, the painting epitomises the depth of Sudjojono’s role in shaping the progress of Modern Indonesian Art.

In the contemporary section, there is a very interesting painting by Indonesian artist I Nyoman Masriadi. The witty, multilayered Sok Ngirit (Pretending to be Prudent) is just fresh off the artist’s easel and comprise the artist’s usual powerful muscled men. Here Masriadi depicts a man monopolising a phone booth while a hoard of people angrily awaits him. They have stripped down to their underwear – from agitation, heat and perhaps to draw attention to themselves – yet their efforts are in vain. Very rarely does Masriadi feature so many protagonists in his composition; apart from one or two central subjects, other figures are usually relegated to the background.