The Balinese painting tradition dates back to the 13th century, but it was in the 1920's things really exploded. Up until then, almost all painting in Bali had been religious paintings and the colors used where the colors that could be obtained from natural dyes. In 1927, the King in Ubud invited western artists to Bali and encouraged them to share their techniques with local artists. In return the King provided free accommodation. Among the artist who arrived to Bali in that period were German Walter Spies, The Dutchmen Arie Smit and Walter Bonnet and Belgian Adrien-Jean Le Mayeur - some of those now selling for millions of dollars. In the period following the 1920’s new painting styles emerged from Balinese painters. The different styles got named after the village they emerged from (Ubud, Sanur and Batuan being the three major villages) and commonly known as modern traditional Balinese paintings. Since then Balinese art has continued to develop. Ubud is still the cultural center in Bali and it is in Ubud you find Bali’s most important art museums. Below 4 art museums in Ubud Bali where you can find paintings from Bali’s many great artists.
|The Dream of Darmawangsa; Arjuna aims his arrow at a she-demon as Darmawangsa raises his arms in alarm. Ink, cinnabar, and gold leaf on paper, 45 x 31 cm, 1957|
The Museum Puri Lukisan was founded in 1956 on the initiative of Tjokorda Gde Agung Sukawati, the prince of Ubud and the painter and friend of the prince, Rudolf Bonnet. A walk through the buildings of the museum will take you on a tour through the history of Balinese art. Everything is well explained with small signs next to the artworks.
Among the highlight of the museum is ink drawings by I Gusti Nyoman Lempad, one of Bali’s most famous artists. Included in a visit to Museum is also a stroll through the lovely garden that is part of the museum ground and a drink at the museums café.
Admission: 50.000 IDR (Drink included). Web: Museum Puri Lukisan
2. Agung Rai Museum of Art – ARMA (Ubud)
The Agung Rai Museum has paintings by almost all the foreign painters that were part of the evolution of Bali’s painting tradition in the years around 1930 and is the only place in Bali where you can see the work of Walter Spies. When it comes to the works from local artists, the collection is equally impressive, with several of the most influential Balinese artists hanging on the walls of the museum. Apart from being a museum, the ARMA is also a cultural center and is the host of theaters and dance performances.
Admission: 50.000 IDR (Tea or coffee included)
Web: ARMA MUSEUM
3. Neka Art Museum (Ubud)
The Neka Art Museum is located in Sanggingan village a few kilometers northwest of Ubuds center. The museum consists of several buildings and pavilions dedicated to different styles or painters. I Gusti Nyoman Lempad, Arie Smith Miguel Covarrubias, Rudolf Bonnet and Donald Friend are among the featured artists. In addition to the permanent exhibition there is an exhibition hall.
Admission: 50.000 IDR
Web: Neka Art Museum
4. Museum Rudana (Ubud)
The museum opened in 1995 by Nyoman Rudana, a local politician with a passion for Balinese and Indonesian art. The museum is striving to support living Balinese artist as well as to preserve early Balinese paintings and to keep Balinese paintings in Bali.
The three floors of Museum Rudana has paintings from Bali dating more than 150 years back as well as modern paintings on display.
Admission: 20:000 IDR
Web: Museum Rudana
4. Blanco Museum (Ubud)
The Blanco museum is a place where you can savor Balinese life in motion, with a visit to the family temple or stroll through the gardens. Everywhere there are touches of Antonio Blanco's life. The artist's studio remains undisturbed, the unfinished painting still on the sunken easel.
Women wander through the yard, in traditional Balinese dress carrying offerings. The visitor can see the delicate flower and palm leaf offerings being made in the courtyard. The Blanco family provides a personal tour of the museum and grounds. There are several Blanco Litographs and book about Antonio Blanco on sale at the museum.
Web: Blanco Museum