Affandi Indonesian Expressionism Painter

December 1, 2012

Painting of Affandi Figure by Dullah

Affandi is one of Indonesian painters with international reputation. Besides him, there are Raden Saleh (1814-1880) which is viewed as a pioneer in Indonesian modern painting art in Dutch colonial era, Sudjojono together with his friends in Persagi (Persatuan Ahli Gambar Indonesia – Union of Indonesian Painters) in pre-independence day of Indonesia era, and several painters in post-independence periode such as Srihadi Soedarsono, AD Pirous and But Mochtar.
Born in 1907, Affandi is included in Persagi generation. He has never studied painting formally. But he has got a chance to learn from Sudjojono. Nevertheles he was mostly self-taught, both from reading books and his relationship with painters in Indonesia and abroad. In 1949 he obtained scholarship from Indian Government to study painting in Shantiniketan Academy, India, but there he was viewed that he had been a good painter and not necessary to learn anymore at the academy. So he used his scholarship to go around India, produced many paintings and run some exhibitions. He also went around Europe.


Affandi’s painting is known as expressionism. The International Herald Tribune daily entitled Affandi as a New Expressionism Painter of Indonesia. Nevertheless Affandi never thinks about what kind of his painting school. Affandi said he initially loved impressionist painters, especially Monet, then expressionist. Also he loved Van Gogh’s works. But he said he coudn’t to be Van Gogh follower.

Some honors have been received by Affandi such as Dag Hammarskjöld, International Peace Prize (Florence, Italy, 1977) and Doctor HC from University of Singapore, 1974.

One of Affandi’s Painting

He run many exhibition in Indonesia and abroad such as in London, Amsterdam, Brussels, Paris, Roma, Tokyo, USA, Brazilia, Australia, Singapore and Malaysia. In 1973 he built a museum in Yogyakarta. At the Affandi Museum there are about 300 Affandi’s paintings and 700 paintings from other artists.

Affandi passed away in 1990 and left about 2000 works. Kartika Affandi, one of his daughters, has been a famous painter until now.

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