Jan Peter van Opheusden Exhibition at ARMA Museum


Exhibition : “BANTEN”

Artist           :       Jan Peter van Opheusden

Venue          :      ARMA Museum, JalanPengosekanUbud Bali.

Telp              : 0361 976659  E. [email protected]

Opening      :   January 25th 2014.

Time             :        18.30 hrs. pm.

Start press conference :January 25th16.30.pm.Warung Kopi Museum ARMA


Jan Peter van Opheusden

Born in Eindhoven The Netherlands 1941, Jan Peter van Opheusden attended the renowned Academy for Industrial Design in Eindhoven, The Netherlands.

After a career as a teacher in drawing and sculpting he established as an independent painter in the early eighties of the last century. Soon his work was vastly collected by Dutch, German and French art collectors.

His international breakthrough came with the exposition “Painter On The Roof” in 1998 at La GrandeArche in Paris France. At that time the European Union existed of 8 member states and Jan Peter van Opheusden was selected the  Dutch artist to represent The Netherlands with an astonishing 145 paintings and 40 sculptures. Earlier in 1993 Earl McGrath Gallery in Los Angeles USA discovered and showed his work, selling it to celebrities like Tina Turner, Tony Curtis and Roger Moore.His name was internationally established and galleries and collectors sued for his hand.

Jan Peter van Opheusden’s is not easily classified in any European Art tradition. Some say it is influenced by the French Fauvistes (The wild Ones)

His work is highly emotional and at times pure poetry.


What does the art community has to say about his work?

Richard Horstman( Art publicist and cultural observer)

“How do we explain the works by Jan Peter?   Best not to try, as it can be difficult, even futile to match words to depth and thrust of emotional responses we may experience when interacting with his creations.   By allowing our body’s intelligence to communicate the innate essence we have no need for intellectual comprehension.”


“Jan Peter does not categorize himself other than as a creative being, a lover of color and life: spontaneity and the moment.  He refuses to consume time explaining his paintings, “I make paintings,” he says without care, or a sense of responsibility to have to add more.  If questioned how long it takes to complete a work, “A lifetime,” is his answer, equally as short, as well as profound. “I don’t need inspiration, I need perspiration”, he states when reflecting upon his work ethic.  Jan Peter is a wise and gentle soul, unassuming, with a twinkle in his eye.”


Dr. Jean Couteau( Art critic , writer  )



“All this to come to the works of an artist I barely know, whose works I just discovered a few weeks ago, Jan Peter van Opheusden, and which have stunned me. But how can words convey the rhythm that inhabits them, as they combine and pulsate within one another, when not standing out in a sudden contrast and burst of red, blue and more. Do they shape forms or figures? Yes, they seem in an instant to do so in shadows, but, a while later, no!

It becomes obvious the “subject” our eyes wants to see is not the final and only one. As soon as it is on the verge of fully standing out, it already flutters and “moves”, to be eventually turned into something fleeting, beyond any definition, or rather always “between” any fixed state of form and color. “Indefinable” and “fuliginous” are perhaps the best adjectives to qualify what one sees, as forms and colors successively grow, then wither and blend into one another, continuously morphing into forms and un-morphing into colors. Looking at a J.P’s painting is thus a purely sensorial experience about “something” visual one “feels” and does not have to comprehend to love.

A few things can be explained though. It is obvious that J.P van Opheusden is on the side of the subjective. Reality may be what he has all around himself, but it does not interest him in itself. He does not want to describe it, and even less study and delineate it. Even if he knows the rules of academism, he looks indifferent to “representation” and it’s related problematic. Reality matters to him only as the locus of his emotions, and representation as the field of his intuitions.

To him, the world is not out there to be understood, it has instead to be “his” world, fully encapsulated in the way he feels it —which is why he translates it in fluctuating colors and indefinable forms. So, contrary to “modern” artists, one cannot say of his art that it is based on a systematic exploration of form and even less color. It is too intuitive for that. His paintings may be musical, but certainly not in the intellectual way of someone like Kandinsky. They are more spontaneous or, let me use the word, more “naïve”. If music there is in them, it is more like the music of the flute-playing shepherd than that of the conductor.

Yet J.P van Opheusden is not guided by any “psychologism” either, be it that of surrealism or Cobra. It is not the “exploration” of the self he is after. In his works, it is the “unconscious” rather than the subconscious that comes out. “Something” that flows out, just like that, effortless, at what he sees, experiences and feels. What he senses at the view of a woman, of a flower, of Bali. Intuition rules. Translated in color, and with an exceptional intensity.

J.P van Opheusden is a well-known painter in Holland. Born in Eindhoven (1941) where he still lives today, he was trained not at a proper art school , but at the AcademievoorIndustrieleVormgeving (Design Academy) in Eindhoven, an environment which probably gave him more leeway to express himself outside the fashions of the day. He has exhibited throughout Europe and in the US. One also finds him in many publications, including in a book, Oogin Oog(Eye to Eye), where he stands next to the likes of Corneille and Picasso.

I cannotread Dutch, so cannot guess what Dutch writers have said about his works, but it is obvious to me that JP’s paintings transcends any definite classification of style. The only certainty is that they are becoming increasingly rich in color, ethereal and intuitive. They reveal a fragile, innocent soul in its encounters with life and a reality he does not really know how to cope with, except in painting, with color. So, to “define” him, let us be as subjective and hazy as he is, as well as avoid any definition that would be a confinement of sorts. So let us call him a master of the intuitive.“

We sincerely believe in intercultural exchange of “creative DNA” between East and West. Therefore we cordially invite you to be present at the press conference in order to interview the artist on his thoughts and views on this subject and of course on his work.

During the opening ceremony we celebrate these two worlds coming together through the emotional and spiritual power of a great Balinese modern dancer.

Ida Ayu Indah Tejapratami will perform the world premiere of her choreography : “Soul Vibrations”  Where in the works of Jan Peter van Opheusden emotion is frozen in paint, the performance of Ida Ayu is emotion in motion in its purest form. A truly great way of two worlds embracing each other.


We hope to meet you on the 25th


Kindest regards


Aegid Tonnaer

Posted: January 25, 2014 6:05 am

According to Agung Rai

“The concept of taksu is important to the Balinese, in fact to any artist. I do not think one can simply plan to paint a beautiful painting, a perfect painting.”

The issue of taksu is also one of honesty, for the artist and the viewer. An artist will follow his heart or instinct, and will not care what other people think. A painting that has a magic does not need to be elaborated upon, the painting alone speaks.

A work of art that is difficult to describe in words has to be seen with the eyes and a heart that is open and not influenced by the name of the painter. In this honesty, there is a purity in the connection between the viewer and the viewed.

As a through discussion of Balinese and Indonesian arts is beyond the scope of this catalogue, the reader is referred to the books listed in the bibliography. The following descriptions of painters styles are intended as a brief introduction to the paintings in the catalogue, which were selected using several criteria. Each is what Agung Rai considers to be an exceptional work by a particular artist, is a singular example of a given period, school or style, and contributes to a broader understanding of the development of Balinese and Indonesian paintng. The Pita Maha artist society was established in 1936 by Cokorda Gde Agung Sukawati, a royal patron of the arts in Ubud, and two European artists, the Dutch painter Rudolf Bonnet, and Walter Spies, a German. The society’s stated purpose was to support artists and craftsmen work in various media and style, who were encouraged to experiment with Western materials and theories of anatomy, and perspective.
The society sought to ensure high quality works from its members, and exhibitions of the finest works were held in Indonesia and abroad. The society ceased to be active after the onset of World War II. Paintings by several Pita Maha members are included in the catalogue, among them; Ida Bagus Made noted especially for his paintings of Balinese religious and mystical themes; and Anak Agung Gde Raka Turas, whose underwater seascapes have been an inspiration for many younger painters.

Painters from the village of Batuan, south of Ubud, have been known since the 1930s for their dense, immensely detailed paintings of Balinese ceremonies, daily life, and increasingly, “modern” Bali. In the past the artists used tempera paints; since the introduction of Western artists materials, watercolors and acrylics have become popular. The paintings are produced by applying many thin layers of paint to a shaded ink drawing. The palette tends to be dark, and the composition crowded, with innumerable details and a somewhat flattened perspective. Batuan painters represented in the catalogue are Ida Bagus Widja, whose paintings of Balinese scenes encompass the sacred as well as the mundane; and I Wayan Bendi whose paintings of the collision of Balinese and Western cultures abound in entertaining, sharply observed vignettes.

In the early 1960s,Arie Smit, a Dutch-born painter, began inviting he children of Penestanan, Ubud, to come and experiment with bright oil paints in his Ubud studio. The eventually developed the Young Artists style, distinguished by the used of brilliant colors, a graphic quality in which shadow and perspective play little part, and focus on scenes and activities from every day life in Bali. I Ketut Tagen is the only Young Artist in the catalogue; he explores new ways of rendering scenes of Balinese life while remaining grounded in the Young Artists strong sense of color and design.

The painters called “academic artists” from Bali and other parts of Indonesia are, in fact, a diverse group almost all of whom share the experience of having received training at Indonesian or foreign institutes of fine arts. A number of artists who come of age before Indonesian independence was declared in 1945 never had formal instruction at art academies, but studied painting on their own. Many of them eventually become instructors at Indonesian institutions. A number of younger academic artists in the catalogue studied with the older painters whose work appears here as well. In Bali the role of the art academy is relatively minor, while in Java academic paintings is more highly developed than any indigenous or traditional styles. The academic painters have mastered Western techniques, and have studied the different modern art movements in the West; their works is often influenced by surrealism, pointillism, cubism, or abstract expressionism. Painters in Indonesia are trying to establish a clear nation of what “modern Indonesian art” is, and turn to Indonesian cultural themes for subject matter. The range of styles is extensive Among the artists are Affandi, a West Javanese whose expressionistic renderings of Balinese scenes are internationally known; Dullah, a Central Javanese recognized for his realist paintings; Nyoman Gunarsa, a Balinese who creates distinctively Balinese expressionist paintings with traditional shadow puppet motifs; Made Wianta, whose abstract pointillism sets him apart from other Indonesian painters.

Since the late 1920s, Bali has attracted Western artists as short and long term residents. Most were formally trained at European academies, and their paintings reflect many Western artistic traditions. Some of these artists have played instrumental roles in the development of Balinese painting over the years, through their support and encouragement of local artist. The contributions of Rudolf Bonnet and Arie Smit have already been mentioned. Among other European artists whose particular visions of Bali continue to be admired are Willem Gerrad Hofker, whose paintings of Balinese in traditional dress are skillfully rendered studies of drapery, light and shadow; Carel Lodewijk Dake, Jr., whose moody paintings of temples capture the atmosphere of Balinese sacred spaces; and Adrien Jean Le Mayeur, known for his languid portraits of Balinese women.

Agung Rai feels that

Art is very private matter. It depends on what is displayed, and the spiritual connection between the work and the person looking at it. People have their own opinions, they may or may not agree with my perceptions.

He would like to encourage visitors to learn about Balinese and Indonesian art, ant to allow themselves to establish the “purity in the connection” that he describes. He hopes that his collection will de considered a resource to be actively studied, rather than simply passively appreciated, and that it will be enjoyed by artists, scholars, visitors, students, and schoolchildren from Indonesia as well as from abroad.

Abby C. Ruddick, Phd