Amelia to Inspect*** Theo Meier: Burmese Girls, oil on canvas, rolled, unstretched
Lot 372
Theo Meier (Swiss, 1908-1982) Balinese Girls
Sold for HK$ 1,400,000 (US$ 180,642) inc. premium
Lot Details
Theo Meier (Swiss, 1908-1982)
Balinese Girls
Oil on canvas, framed
Signed Theo Meier in English
Dated 73
200cm x 140cm (78¾in x 55in).

Footnotes

  • Provenance: an American private collection

    泰奧·邁爾 峇里少女 油彩畫布 木框 一九七三年作

    簽名:Theo Meier 73
    背面蓋有畫布製作公司之印章'Viktoria Malleinen'三鈐

    來源:美國私人收藏

    Born in Basle, Switzerland, Theo Meier received his formal art education at the Basle School of Art, where he was awarded a scholarship. His talent was revealed at an early age. However, the real sparkle did not shine until he saw the works by Paul Gauguin (1848-1903) at an exhibition in Basle. The young artist was moved by the primitive nature in Gauguin's paintings. Soon after that, Meier made a bold decision that he was going to follow Gauguin's footsteps to Tahiti. The reality of this exotic place was not quite what Meier expected. His Tahiti trip was a failure in the sense that its beauty was destroyed by the loss of innocence and growing commercialism. But it was still a milestone in his life. Meier's continuous search for the missing beauty lead him to Bali, where the greatest part of his artistic harvest came from.

    Meier first visited Bali in 1936 and resided on the island until 1955. Bali is that perfect paradise he had been looking for. The island found no trace of the modern world and retained most of its traditional lifestyle as well as values. Meier was greatly inspired by the Balinese ritual songs and dances, just as what this painting depicts. His art was propelled to new heights by the natural purity and simplicity of the island.

    This large oil painting portrays an offering procession, which is probably a vivid depiction of the artist's experience. Balinese Girls depicts Balinese girls giving offerings to, most likely, the Sea God, supervised by the priest on the left. The same offering box, atop the head of the Balinese girl on the right, appears in Meier's Offering to the Sea God in 1982. Meier embraced Balinese culture from every aspect. It is possible that this kind of Hindu procession left a strong impression in his memory. Balinese Girls was dated 1973 during the time when Meier settled with his third wife in Chiang Mai, Thailand. Meier left Bali in 1955 and returned to Basle for the launch of his exhibition. He went back to Bali for a short time and departed again for an invitation to Thailand from his friend, Prince Sanidh Rangsit in 1957. From that moment onwards, Meier never returned to Bali, the island he so cherished, again. He could only revisit the good old place through portraying his experience by dynamic brushstrokes.

    Meier's adaptation of primitive artistic language is evident, as presented in this painting. Similar to Gauguin, his works are highly stylized in broad, flattened use of color and rough brushstrokes. The outline of the figures, also, is not very significant, where the presence of the figures is compressed among themselves and they are absorbed into the sunset behind. Another featured characteristic is the bold use of yellow and red. A naturalistic and tropical sense could be generated from such an extensive application of yellow and red in both Gauguin and Meier's paintings. Such atmosphere, in the context of Balinese Girls, contains the artist's nostalgia about the paradise he once lived for 15 years.

    泰奧•邁爾(Theo Meier)在瑞士巴塞爾(Basle)出生,就讀當地的藝術學校,並曾獲頒獎學金。他的藝術天份早於年少時已經充份顯現出來,不過,當他在巴塞爾的藝術展覽看到保羅•高更(Paul Gauguin,1848-1903)的畫作時,邁爾才真正受到啟發,高更畫中的原始主義深深打動了邁爾。之後,他決定追隨高更的足跡,到大溪地一遊。可惜當時的大溪地已無法再和高更的年代比擬,逐漸變得商業化,也失去當年的純真,最後邁爾只能失望而回。雖然如此,邁爾並沒有放棄,繼續追尋心目中的美好之地,結果他來到峇里島,那個令他的藝術更上一層樓的地方。

    邁爾於1936首次踏足峇里島,之後在當地定居直到1955年。對他來說,峇里島是他一直尋找的天堂。當時的峇里島遠離塵囂,仍然保留傳統的生活方式和價值觀。峇里人的祭祀歌曲和舞蹈,為邁爾提供源源不絕的創作靈感。島上的自然氣息和純樸氣氛,使他的藝術創作水平達到前所未有的高峰。

    本次拍賣的〈峇里少女〉描繪了峇里人的祭祀儀式,相信邁爾本人亦曾親眼目睹類似場面。畫中一群少女似乎在向海神貢獻祭品,左方的祭司正在監督儀式的進行。右方少女置於頭上的祭品容器亦曾出現在邁爾於1982年畫的〈海神獻祭〉'Offering to the Sea God'一畫中。邁爾熱愛峇里文化,如此盛大的儀式一定令他留下深刻印象。此畫〈峇里少女〉作於1973年,當時邁爾已和第三任妻子定居泰國清邁。他於1955年離開峇里,到巴塞爾舉行展覽。其後,他回到峇里島並逗留了一段短時間,再應朋友Prince Sanidh Rangsit的邀請,在1957年到泰國。此後,邁爾便沒有再回到他珍愛的峇里島。只有在以畫筆重現島上經歷的時候,他才得以重遊故地,回到記憶中那純樸美好的小島。

    從〈峇里少女〉一畫中,不難發現邁爾的筆法融合了原始主義畫派的特色。他的畫作與高更的作品有不少相似之處,邁爾常於畫上運用大面積的扁平色塊和粗獷的筆法。人物造形的勾線亦不大明顯,令人物看似與背後的夕陽融為一體。其次是大量採用黃色和紅色,無論是高更或邁爾的作品,密集的黃與紅都令畫面甚具自然美和熱帶風情。對邁爾來說,〈峇里少女〉中流露的原始美,正是他對這個生活了十五年的小島的點點鄉愁。

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