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The Old Bali Blog « Extremely rare painting for sale by Ubud's I. Gusti Nyoman Lempad (1862-1978)

Painting for sale by I. Gusti Nyoman Lempad, genius Balinese artist

Painting for sale by I. Gusti Nyoman Lempad, Balinese artist (1862-1978). Dimensions: 39x46cm without frame. Year: 1948.

An extremely rare, Chinese-ink-on-paper painting by the world-renowned I. Gusti Nyoman Lempad is up for sale at

The painting narrates the story of Hanuman, the fabled Monkey God of the Mahabharata, who is locked in a mortal duel with the demon Raksasa.

To kill his larger foe, Hanuman climbs through the mouth of Raksasa, is swallowed, and beats the demon dead from inside his belly.

Hanuman climbs out victorious.

I. Gusti Nyoman Lempad (1862-1978) lived to the astounding age of 116, and in his youth was attached to the Royal House of Ubud where he began his career as a carver and temple architect.

After the arrival of the artist Walter Spies in the late 1920s, Lempad transferred his talents to black-and-white drawings - at the age of 50 - and arguably became the most talented artist that Bali has ever produced.

In true Renaissance-style, he was also a highly-skilled sculptor, dancer and choreographer.

Spies supplied Lempad with paper and ink, and the artist never looked back - drawing on fables, folklore, ancient Indian epics, eroticism and everyday social interactions for his inspiration.

But unlike many of his contemporaries, Lempad refused to be influenced by the new wave of Western artists such as Spies and Bonnet and pursued his own bold, unwavering style.

I. Gusti Nyoman Lempad has been likened to Picasso, Gaudi and Michelangelo; his work hangs in the Library of Congress in Washington and the Museum of Ethnology in Vienna.

In Ubud, a very limited selection of his works can be seen at the ARMA Museum, Museum Puri Lukisan and at Neka Gallery.

Two major books have so far been been published in 2014 about this quiet genius - 'Lempad, a Timeless Balinese Master' was launched in June at the ARMA Museum in Ubud, and 'Lempad of Bali: The Illuminating Line' which saw its debut at a second major exhibition of Lempad's paintings at Ubud's Puri Lukisan.

John Darling's and Lorne Blair's documentary film 'Lempad of Bali' (1980) completes the line-up.

Also highly-worth reading is John Darling's touching behind-the-scenes tribute to Lempad, 'A Memoir of a Master Artist, and the Making of a Film'.

Update: This work of art was purchased by a private collector for an undisclosed sum on September 30th, 2014.

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