Sobrat’s art is truly Bali-hai

Anak Agung Gde SobratIdewa Gde Sobrat (aka)  Anak Agung Gde Sobrat (1912–1992) was an Balinese painter;  the son of an aristocratic family from the town of Padangtegal in Ubud. Prior to WWII, he was also known as I. Dewa Sobrat.

As a child, he was exposed to various forms of art such as shadow puppet theatre and sacred dances at the village temple and subsequently, from his grandfather, he learned how to make shadow puppets.  This became the basis for his skillful depiction of the Ramayana and Mahabharata in his early paintings. Sobrat and his neighbor Anak Agung Gde Meregeg were the first two artists in Padangtegal to meet  the German artist, Walter Spies, at the end of 1920s. Spies, together with Rudolf Bonnet was thought to be the agent of change for the modernization of Balinese art.

Sobrat worked and lived with Spies for a year and began to learn the western style of painting from both Spies and Bonnet and later on, it was from Bonnet that he learned portraiture.  For two years between 1957-1959, Sobrat taught at the Academy of Fine Arts in Jogjakarta, Indonesia.

In his early career, before 1930, Sobrat produced mainly Wayang (shadow style) paintings. Some of his early works can be found in the Museum Puri Lukisan in Ubud; the Rijksmuseum voor Volkenkunde  in Leiden; and Tropenmuseum (Tropical Museum) of Amsterdam.  The above picture is from the collection of the Tropenmuseum.

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