Dullah


Born in Solo, Central Java (1919 – 1996).

Dullah was a guerrilla fighter, who fought alongside Adam Malik against the Dutch colonial rulers and the Japanese occupational forces. He was the Presidential Palace painter in the 1950s for the president of Indonesia, Sukarno (1901-1970). It was Dullah who selected 206 paintings from Soekarno's private collections with China experts photographed and then reproduced in the "deluxe" two volume oversize monograph in a very limited edition printed in the People's Republic of China in 1956. The text by Soekarno and Dullah was in four languages: Indonesian, Chinese, English and Russian. Due to the limited edition (only 6000 copies) the two volumes of 'deluxe' monographs were only distributed to selected individuals and art collectors, and the supply was soon exhausted. (The second publication of President Soekarno's art collection was in five volumes, compiled by artist painter Lee Man Fong, printed in Japan in deluxe edition, and widely sold and distributed throughout the Republic).

When Dullah was no longer a palace artist, he returned to Solo where he cofounded the Surakarta Cultural Association (HBS). In the 1970s, he went to Bali and established his Realist Painting Workshop in Pejeng, Gianyar, Bali. The artist believed that in order to paint natural scenery, the most important element was atmosphere. The painting must not be made to look more beautiful than the original object, like in Basuki Abdullah's works, and neither must it be like a photograph because, Dullah used to say, “a painting is created by means of brush, paint and canvas”.

At the age of 70, he built his museum in Solo all by his own without any financial succor from the government or other private institutions. This was done as his dedication to a love of the arts over a creative lifetime.

Dullah peacefully passed away of a stroke on January 1996.

 

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