H.Widayat (1919-2002)


15 January - 09 March 2016


The Oberoi Hotel, Bali
Jalan Kayu Aya, Kuta, Badung,
Bali, Pantai Seminyak


Widayat google


The role of Widayat, as innovator and initiator of a unique style with atypical Indonesian identity, is overlooked. His steady production of art works and his role as a teacher have been very influential in the development of Indonesian modern art. It would therefore be a good idea to include him in the list of pioneers as ’number four’. When I lived in Indonesia in the 1980s, I met Widayat and his wife Sumini in Jalan Cendana (Yogyakarta). One of his paintings with white birds in a tree was hanging at the wall. I was immediately enchanted by the gentle atmosphere of these works that were so different from the other artworks in Indonesia. From that moment on, I visited Widayat whenever I was in Yogyakarta and later Mungkid.

It was always a great pleasure to meet them, also in Amsterdam where we visited the Rijksmuseum and Van Gogh Museum together. Widayat’s endless curiosity and creativity kept his heart and spirit young. His depiction of the world contains a childlike innocence, an inner beauty without any aggression. During one of my visits to Indonesia in 1995, I stayed again in the guesthouse behind
the museum. Widayat and Sumini intended to visit Dr. Oei in Magelang. They took me with them and introduced me to Dr. Oei, whose house at that time was filled from the top to the bottom with art works. I was very surprised to find so many art works from artists I knew in one place together. Widayat was the one who inspired Dr. Oei to make his museum. We can be grateful for this advice. Personally, I remember Pak Widayat and Ibu Sumini as a friendly, hardworking couple, who spent their lives in the service of art. I therefore hope that the legacy of Widayat’s works will be valued in the right way by his family, the Indonesian art world and the international art circuit as well.


Helena Spanjaard
(Indonesian Art Historian)



Appreciating Widayat’s painting is not difficult. His decorative style makes his paintings suitable to display in your home. That was exactly the wish of Widayat for his paintings.
He always said that a painting is to be displayed and enjoyed; not to be stored. His subject matter is easy to understand, particularly the flora and fauna, which are actually fantasy landscapes that he had produced in great numbers with a wide variety of scenes.
However, no two are exactly the same. He did indeed repeat his themes often but each work was treated in a particular way and filled with his heart, soul and spirit such that there is no feeling of repetition or routine.
Painting with decorative style is generally considered inferior to works with realistic, expressionistic or impressionistic styles because decorativeness is associated with craft. That idea does not hold in terms of Widayat’s painting. He had emphasized all the time that a painting should have content. He used the Javanese word ’greng’ to describe the soul of a painting. ’Greng’ is the jolt you experience if you touch electric current. Widayat always said: “A good painting should have greng”. Widayat’s paintings have multilayered aspects and deep meaning and this include even his popular themes. Widayat has a rich variety of subject matter and style. There are paintings which are not easy to absorb like his abstract works. Unlike his contemporaries Fadjar Sidik, Ahmad Sadali and Nashar, Widayat’s abstract paintings are never total abstract; there is always a reminiscence of something real. Widayat always was experimenting with forms.
If we analyze his cubistic style paintings we often fail to come to a conclusion on what he intended to express. However, by re-observing again and again we might get an idea of what he wanted to show or say. In collecting Widayat’s paintings, my preferences shifted with time. In the beginning I
preferred the popular themes Which are easy to digest above the more esoteric subject matter and unusual style with extreme deformation or a work with only one focus. This is not the case with collecting works of other Indonesian modern masters like Affandi/ Hendra Gunawan, Sudjojono and Lee Man Fong, who relatively maintained their respective styles.
While in search of his works, I found new surprises that I had not seen before or works
that had never been shown before.


Dr. Oei Hong Djien
(OHD Museum founder)


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