National Gallery of Indonesia

Permanent Exhibition



If we are talking about gallery, of course always there is National Gallery of Indonesia as my top of mind. There are permanent and temporary exhibition, which temporary exhibitions held packed with one full year schedule in here. Due to highly standard selection, it is always said really difficult to conduct the exhibition even to display the artwork.

Based on data from the National Gallery of Indonesia website, the building which has a Dutch colonial architecture which was officially opened in 1999 has been used for a Special Dormitory for women.

At present the National Gallery of Indonesia has around 1785 collections of artworks by Indonesian and foreign artists, including ; Raden Saleh, Hendra Gunawan, Affandi, S. Sudjojono, Basoeki Abdullah, Barli Sasmitawi Nata, Trubus, Popo Iskandar, Ahmad Sadali, Nashar, Soedarsono, Sunaryo, Amrus Natalsya, Hardi, Heri Dono, Dede Eri Supria, Ivan Sagita, FX. Harsono, Lucia Hartini, Irlantine Karnaya, Hendrawan Kanaryo, Nyoman Gunarsa, Made Wiyanti, Ida Bagus Made, I Ketut Soki, Wassily Kandinsky (Russia), Hans Hartung (Germany), Victor Vassarely (Hungary), Sonia Delauney (Ukraine), Pierre Saulages (France), Zao Wou Ki (China).

How many artists are you familiar with? Or even already greatly admire their artworks?


For this time we will more explore about the permanent exhibition. We will enjoying many types of artwork made by several type of materials. So here we go!


Friedrich Carl Albert Schreuel (1773 – 1853)

Portrait of Raden Saleh Sjarief Boestaman (1840)

Reproduction from the Rijksmuseum Collection, Netherlands


Here is the first artwork that captivate me with Raden Saleh portrait. Raden Saleh could not be separated with Indonesian artwork as a painter. In this portrait depicted that Raden Saleh was painting with European style looked from his wardrobe and epic hair style. We could see he was sitting on while ocean painting progress of nature theme with “half of frame” out of the real frame. His left hand was holding on pallet and the right one with a lot of kind paint brushes. It is looked interesting that on 19th century had resulted this kind of great artwork.


Andries Beeckman (1628 – 1664)

The Castle of Batavia (1661)

Reproduction from the Rijksmuseum Collection, Netherlands


Andries Beeckman was 17th century Dutch painter. He was very famous for his paintings of Southeast Asia and Batavia. The first object on the paint that captured my attention was the coconut trees. There is a lot of coconut trees, can you guess how many people on the coconut tree? The people there looked really camouflaged into one with the tree. Under the tree there are a lot of people that perhaps on traditional market situation. On the center of the portrait there is a couple walking around with a slave using an umbrella following them. When many people assume the main function of an umbrella to protect someone from the rain, the interest fact is the umbrella was first created to protect someone from the solar thermal. Furthermore, I was wondering regarding the background of the painting that it could be either the castle or the harbor in Batavia. Then for the sky gradation color, it looked the painter thoughtful the details for it carefully.


Basoeki Abdullah (1915 – 1993)

Siblings (1978)

Oil on Canvas (65 x 79 Cm)


Basoeki Abdullah, I always feel excited when heard one of Indonesian maestro painter’s name. He is more special for me because my thesis theme regarding his 100th year celebration. That temporary exhibition was one of the best temporary exhibition I’ve ever visited. Back to Basoeki Abdullah, he was painter which well-known of beautification art. Many popular figures ever asked him personally to paint their self-portrait. From artist, government, until Bhumibol Adulyadej (king of Thailand) and Juliana (queen of Netherland through the contest in the order of coronation) became some of his masterpiece. His relationship with Soekarno which is the first president of Indonesia is also interesting topic to be discuss.

Even though he was well-known for his beautification art, he even joined Java theatrical art and ever tried painting with nature theme. But perhaps the quote ever said “You will have one specialization that truly shows who you are” is right. His family said his beautification art was his specialization. I’ve ever several times visited Basoeki Abdullah Museum and from my point of view, his nature paintings are also amazing. His art blood couldn’t be denied, he is the grandson of one of Indonesia's national hero (Dr. Wahidin Sudirohusodo). FYI, his former house became museum in South Jakarta area since 2001.

Actually, before I realized this painting was made by Basoeki Abdullah, I ever saw several times this artwork in some places. Elder sister carry pickaback her younger brother. The background made me feel the simplicity, the gradation color looked perfectly matched with their facial expression and moreover I was wondering regarding the siblings facial expression. What were they thinking about? What’s the real situation happened when Basoeki Abdullah was painting this artwork? What type of wardrobe they wore on the 20th century? I still have several questions on my mind.


Nicolaas Pieneman (1809 – 1860)

The Submission of Prince Dipo Negoro to General De Kock (1830 – 1835)

Reproduction from the Rijksmuseum Collection, Netherlands


This portrait and the forward portrait has a strong relationship even though the painter are different person and the time of artworks made in a wide range around 22 years. The background place of the artwork perhaps one of the Netherland’s office it could be looked from there is Netherland’s flag, the great symbol of the Kingdom of the Netherlands on the top of the main door, and the hanging glass lamps on the building. Based on the portrait’s title, from Nicolaas Pieneman point of view Prince Diponegoro surrender to the colonial without any resistance and there are a lot of commoners came with feeling of deep sorrow to appreciate Prince Diponegoro. Moreover, many Netherland soldier were coming to fetch Prince Diponegoro to somewhere. FYI, the attribute of Prince Diponegoro ever taken away to Netherland after this situation. Finally, the original attributes now display on National Museum of Indonesia after we had bilateral and diplomatic relations.


Raden Saleh (1811 – 1880)

The Arrest of Prince Diponegoro (1857)

Reproduction from the Presidential Palace Collection, Indonesia


This painting, considered to be Raden Saleh’s masterpiece, is depicting the event in which the Dutch betrayed Prince Diponegoro, an event that ended the Java War in 1830. The Prince was persuaded to come to Magelang in order to discuss the possibility of a truce, but the Dutch failed to fulfill his safety guarantee. Diponegoro was arrested. At the time, Nicolas Pieneman, a Dutch painter, had preceded Raden Saleh in creating a painting based on the event, commissioned by General de Kock. Raden Saleh presumably saw Pieneman’s painting when he was living in Europe. Disagreeing with Pieneman’s depiction, Raden Saleh made a number of significant changes in his version. Pieneman painted the event from the right, while Raden Saleh from the left. While Pieneman painted Diponegoro with a listless and submissive facial expression, Raden Saleh painted a stern and indignant expression of the Prince. While Pieneman gave his painting the title Penyerahan Diri Diponegoro (which translates as the submission of Diponegoro), Raden Saleh chose the title Penangkapan Pangeran Diponegoro (The Arrest of Prince Diponegoro). Saleh also intentionally painted the Dutch characters with slightly oversized heads, so they look more horrific. The presented the painting to King Willem III in Den Haag. It was returned to Indonesia in 1978 – as a realization of a cultural agreement between Indonesia and the Netherlands in 1969, which regarded the return of Indonesia’s cultural items, which were taken, lent, or exchanged to the Dutch in the previous eras.


Affandi (1907 – 1990)

Mother (1941)

Oil on Canvas (52 x 43 Cm)


Another Indonesian maestro painter artwork that displaying in the National Gallery of Indonesia. This painting was one of the earliest works to be acquired as a collection of the Ministry of Education, Teaching, and Culture (now the Ministry of Education and Culture) in 1948. Affandi demonstrated his skill in realist portraits at the beginning of his career before turning towards impressionism and expressionism. In this painting we can observe brush strokes and small details that have succeeded in forming a figure of a mother who looks old, crossing her arms on her shoulders with a gaze and facial expression that tends to be sad yet still looks calm due to the pastel color of her clothes. Her hair is slightly dangling and doesn’t look like a smile from her lips then additional with the facial wrinkles, showing this portrait made in natural poses and angles. Affandi had great attention and love for his mother, he often painted his mother’s figure in several other works such as ‘Mother Inside the Room” (1949), and “Angry Mother” (1960). FYI, Affandi Koesoema’s Museum located in Yogyakarta and unfortunately I could not visit due to this museum is closed on Sunday.


Dullah (1919 – 1996)

My Wife (1953)

Oil on Canvas (102 x 83 Cm)


My first opinion when saw this portrait was the authentic beauty of Indonesian women. Of course when Dullah was painting his wife he was really understood his wife. What I mean, the facial expression and texture are really lively whoever saw it I think especially the part of the eye and eyebrow. Wearing kebaya (Indonesian traditional clothes), sanggul (Indonesian bun hair style) while was holding the folding fan with flower pattern and the footwear looked really familiar for me. We will easily found this style on Indonesian wedding ceremonial party especially for family of the brides and invited guests. The background simplify the atmosphere and there are several new and blank frames that such as the identical if there was a painter perhaps was living there. Beautiful wife and of course beautiful portrait.





I. Balinese Dancer (33 x 14,5 cm)

II. Flower Vase (34 x 14 cm)

III. Artist and Art (17,5 x 16 cm)

IV. Heading Home from the Market (28 x 16,7 cm)

V. Good and Evil (25 x 30 cm)

VI. Sacred Weapon (31 x 19 cm)

VII. Motherland (22,5 x 16 cm)

VIII. Indonesian Independence (26 x 31,5 cm)

IX. Mosque (32,5 x 24 cm)

X. Cockatoo Bird (31 x 16,5 cm)

XI. Solo Bird (30,5 x 15,5 cm)

XII. Elephant Couple (32 x 25 cm)

Oesman Effendi (1919 – 1985)

Woodcut on Paper (1962)


Black, white, dark blue colors. That’s what I thought when I saw this painting collection. Black and white as main color of the paintings and dark blue as the wall background color that fulfill one to each other with those paintings. The whole set of artworks made me feel more about Indonesian culture. The unique thing is Oesman Effendi created his great artwork with woodcut on paper which is not common as long as I visited the art exhibitions.


Dolorosa Sinaga (1953)

Solidarity (2000)

Bronze (83 x 100 x 28 Cm)


This sculpture shows a group of women holding hands and standing next to each other. A woman on the far left raised her fist to the air passionately. In the line of women, there is a pregnant woman, a woman’s disposition as a mother. The deformed female figures are a strong expressionist message. Solidarity embodies Dolorosa Sinaga’s concern for women issues. Through her works, she wants to represent women as the custodian of life – within their frailty, they contain perpetual energy.


What do you think about the last photo and National Gallery of Indonesia? Put on your comment below then see you on the next post, thank you for reading & have a nice day!


For further information :

National Gallery of Indonesia

Jl. Medan Merdeka Timur No. 14, Jakarta 10110



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