Bali’s unique natural and cultural scenes have inspired many artists, dancers, musicians, sculpters and (especially) painters. Some prominent world class painters such as Don Antonio Blanco, Walter Spies, Rudolf Bonnet and Le Mayeur fell in love with the island, got inspired and created numerous paintings capturing the island’s landsacpes before settling down in the Island of the Gods. Balinese born painters have also gained international recognition, including Bendi, Lempad and Made Wianta. Their works are proudly displayed in several museums on the island.
Museum Puri Lukisan
Museum Puri Lukisan is located in the heart of Ubud, just a few steps away from The Ubud Palace. The history of the museum dates back to 1929 when Rudolf Bonnet, a Dutch born artist, arrived on the island. He introduced the ideologies, techniques and materials of Western Art to Bali. His cooperation with Tjokorda Gde Agung Sukawati, the Prince of Ubud, initiated a new era in the Balinese art of painting.
Blanco Renaissance Museum
On the top of a hill in Campuhan Village in Ubud, lies an artistic modern building, known as Blanco Renaissance Museum. The museum was built a few years before Don passed away, thus the design and concept came from Antonio himself. His artistic touches can be seen right at the main gate before an uphill road to the car park. A marble gate adorned with a sculptured version of the maestro’s signature, known as the world biggest signature, welcomes visitors to the world of Antonio Blanco. The museum concept is to make the non-living alive, making people laugh and feel happy. Everything is built for a reason, the absence of windows in the building is aimed to nurture the idea that the outside world is different with the maestro’s world and the colourful wall is the reflection of the maestro’s mood; it changes colour as frequently as the clock ticks.
In 1976, Suteja Neka, an art collector, began to build the Neka Art Museum with pieces of his own collection. Located in tranquil Ubud, the museum, which houses Neka’s personal collection of Bali inspired fine art, has expanded over the years to include other works from all over the archipelago to show the place of Balinese art within the wider national context.
ARMA – Agung Rai Museum of Art
Agung Rai, the founder of ARMA, started collecting paintings from all over the world in the 1980’s. His vision was to establish a space to conserve the arts, his source of inspiration. The creation of ARMA is the manifestation of his vision.
The museum not only displays an extensive collection of paintings from legendary Balinese artists but also showcases works by prominent artists from around the Indonesian Archipelago such as Jeihan Sukmantoro, Affandi, Srihadi Soedarsono and others as well as foreign artists who were inspired by the natural beauty of the landscape and culture of Bali. Those include Walter Spies, Theo Meier, Le Mayeur and Rudolf Bonnet.