Walter Spies and Balinese Art
by Hans Rhodius & John Darling
Terra, Zutphen/Tropical Museum, Amsterdam, The Netherlands, 1980, Quarto; hardcover, with silver-gilt spine and upper board titling; 96 pages., with many monochrome and a couple of colour photographic illustrations.
Very Good Condition with minor edge and shelf wear to book and jacket
'Walter Spies began life in Czarist Russia where he was interned after the Bolshevik takeover. Fleeing to Germany in the aftermath of the First World War, during which he rubbed shoulders with the likes of F.W. Murnau and Charles Chaplin, he set off to Java and spent the rest of his life in Indonesia.
Working for a time as a piano player in a Chinese cinema, he eventually took over as the director of the Sultan's European orchestra and from then on dedicated to absorbing and understanding the myriad art forms of the Indonesian archipelago - dance, music, and theatre. Settling in Bali he commenced life as an artist in these traditional forms before being interned by the Dutch in 1940 as an illegal alien. At age 46, having proven himself a master of all the local traditional arts, as well as a virtuoso in the local language and dialects, he was killed in the sinking of a prisoner transport by the Japanese, en route to Ceylon.
This is a great exposition of the life and work of an itinerant visionary who found his means of expression in a country far from his own and to which he wedded his own unique vision to create a distinctive style.
A subsequent chapter discusses the traditional forms of Javanese and Balinese art which were the inspiration for Spies' creations and put his idiosyncratic works into complete perspective.'