(Abdullah Family Series) Abdullah Suriosubroto - A Pioneer of Natural Beauty

ABDULLAH SURIOSUBROTO (1878 - 1941)
Born in Semarang 1878, Abdullah Suriosubroto is adopted son of the prominent gentleman behind the National freedom movement Wahidin Sudirohusodo, MD. As expected to be “like father like son”, Abdullah followed his father’s path by enrolling medical school in Batavia (Jakarta). Furthermore, he was also subsequently sent to Netherlands to continue his study in medicine. But instead of studying Medical School, he preferred to enter the Academy of Fine Arts to study painting, where he received a thorough training in Western painting techniques. After coming back to Indonesia, he firmly decided to devote his further career in art. He was at the time widely known as the first Indonesian painter in 20th century after Raden Saleh who had just started establishing the Indonesian painter reputation in 19th century. His favorite objects were beauty landscapes from various places and angles.

As a painter who inherited the “Mooi Indie” genre, Abdullah Suriosubroto was very conversant in expressing the elements of beauty in very detail. He described the object of plants or trees cluster by exposing the rhythm of components from close distance; particularly in his watercolor drawings. Looking at the object, we can sense a dynamic of leafs, twigs and every part of trees object are swaying as blown by the wind in subtle orchestra…

According to Kusnadi, a fine art lover, it is unfortunate that these joyful and remarkable masterpieces are poorly published; they were treated as only art study materials. Some even critically opined that Abdullah’s paintings just represented a natural journey without in-depth interpretation.

Regarding to the background, Abdullah Sr. then decided to live in Bandung to get closer with his favorite objects of nature, so he could express the fertility and beauty of Indonesia natural landscape in tranquility, elegance, and harmony. A lot of Bandung painters actually followed his style like Wahdi Sumanta. The father of reputable painters Sudjono Abdullah and Basoeki Abdullah, also trained a number of landscape painters. He spent his life in Bandung a few years before he moved to Yogyakarta for his last exploration of natural beauty for his paintings objects. He passed away there in 1941.




Painter : Abdullah Suriosubroto
Subject/ Title : Bamboo Woods
Dimension : 74 X 125 cm
Media : oil on canvas
Signature & remarks : undated, signed lower left: “Abdullah”.
History/ provenance
of painting : authentic with no COA or provenance shall be provided. The present owner acquired the painting from private collection of the previous owner.
Condition : a tiny spot of white fleck on the bottom left corner near to signature. The overall is good; no trails of restoration or revision are found.