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RdS | Raden Saleh Bulletin no. 2 | 1998
The Painter Raden Saleh
- Migrant between two Worlds
Raden Saleh Bulletin
Patrons Minister of Education and Culture R.I.
Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture R.I.
Advisors Joop Ave
Publishers Peter Sternagel
Editors Peter Sternagel
Renate Kant, Go East - Go West:
On the Eventful Damage History and
Restoration of the Painting "Javanese Couple"
Werner Kraus, Remarks concerning
the Painting “Javanese Couple”
Harsja W. Bachtiar, Raden Saleh: Aristocrat,
Painter and Scientist (reprint Part I)
Werner Kraus, Raden Saleh: One Javanese
- Two Personalities
Three Letters by Raden Saleh
Amir Sidharta, Raden Saleh and
The Indonesian Art Boom
Peter Sternagel, Art Theft in Jakarta
- A Chronology
The Authors of this Issue 85
(black & white)
Caption (to be given by W.K.)
Go East - Go West: On the Eventful Damage History and Restoration of the Painting
To European restorers of paintings with their high academic standards and requirements for a sensitively controlled and finely tuned environment in the rehabilitation of important works of national heritage, working sessions in Indonesia present multifarious challenges.
Welcomed by us with joy and curiosity is, among other things, the resonance aroused by our temporary mission. It usually takes only a short time before collectors and art dealers contact us and bring their damaged objects for examination and valuation. Dialogue concerning the origin, nature of damage and aging, specifically of paintings in a tropical climate leads us to an exchange of ideas, often including the hope of consolidation with aesthetic and perhaps financial profit. Where distinct heavy damage is evident, the concerns which arise are then addressed.
Before we begin by conducting a formal estimation of value and the technological examination, time and again the fascinating and dynamic moment occurs when the object is presented to the restorer. As in a good clinical case history where the doctor receives the patient in a receptive, cognitive and intuitive way, and is willing to outline the whole circle of the intact and the injured personality, so to speak, I as a restorer holistically establish the space for a meeting with the object. This often, and not without “that certain tickle”, leads to spontaneous contact between us.
Raden Saleh, Javanese Couple, oil on canvas
(194 x 128 cm), 1837 (after restoration)
At this point a permanent dialogue begins which in most cases only comes to an end when the painting leaves the studio. Or like an inspired relationship between friends, a dialogue would open again after a time of separation where, nurtured with experience and with a new focus, the painting tells me another hidden secret of its existence as soon as I, the viewer, begin to ask new questions.
Circumstances of meeting and implications
This happened to me recently with the object “Javanese Couple”, painted and signed by Raden Saleh, dated in 1837 by his own hand. The painting (oil on canvas, 194 x 128 cm) was shown to me and my colleague Petra Klier in 1995. It was in a pitiful condition which could only lead a restorer to describe it as a “severely traumatized patient”. Inquiry into the matter then began.
This painting made an immediate impression. It was shown to us at a time when we were engaged in the conservation and restoration of four paintings by Walter Spies, in connection with a workshop on restoration at the newly-opened Museum ARMA (Agung Rai Museum of Art) in Ubud, Bali.
The deteriorated condition of the presented canvas suggested that intense mechanical “abuse” had taken place. Upon viewing, the provenance of the painting did not reveal itself. Most probably its fate was for 145 years to be subjected to various moves and routes of transportation between Asia and Europe.
Nevertheless, and despite all the damages, it retained an aura. The introverted look of the gentleman, which appears to pass over the spectator, contributes to create the enigmatic charisma that even now, when viewing the painting three years after the completed restoration, indicates a transcendence which seems far from subjective.
General description and state of the canvas
The picture is painted with thin oil color over a yellowish-tone chalk priming on canvas. The back of the canvas is covered with an opaque brown coating which most probably was chosen by the painter as an impregnation to guard against environmental influences. It indicates that the artist, when creatively drafting the painting, had perhaps already anticipated the challenges of climate to which it was going to be exposed, because it had certainly been applied intentionally. Comparisons with other paintings I had previously seen by Raden Saleh did not show any analogy of this type of protective treatment.
Numerous discolorations due to the considerably harmful effects of water and fading of varnish, had led to the so-called perishing of the layers of paint, resulting in milky opaque coatings. A large oval water stain was evident in the center of the painting, although only on the front side. Fortunately, the moisture did not greatly damage the canvas because of the coating the artist had applied to the back. However, intensive violent removal from the original stretcher meant that the whole canvas was now laying overstretched and torn apart in front of us.
Before any restoration was to begin, a precise analysis and in this case a very detailed one was required in order to describe, on the basis of such an examination, what were the extent of damages. What measures were to be taken to adequately address this report and in what meaningful stages they should be conducted, was also to be decided.
Our observations concerning the canvas, grounding and layer of paint
Removal from the original stretcher had left traces alongside the tacking edges which no longer fulfilled their original purpose as they were now so frayed out and warped. Clearly the greatest damages to have occurred were two triangle-shaped fissures (3 x 3 cm and 6 x 6 cm in diameter) in the upper background of the painting, and another T-shaped fissure (18 cm horizontally and 5 cm vertically) on the right edge of the painting at the height of the gentleman’s shoulder. Attending to these injuries would be our first priority. With the insight gained from past experience, and with a necessary brutality, these fissures were tacked together with rusty metal staples on the front of the painting. A black linen tape with its usual softening agent was blended into a sticky mixture on the back of the canvas with the intention of covering the fissures.
The machine-made canvas was noted to be of medium strong structure with a coarse but dense crosshair, woven in a linen thread method. There were no patched-on pieces. At the time the painting was created it was technically possible to deliver canvasses to an artist that were industrially woven on large looms which were already mechanically surfaced with a chalk-oil base.
There was a trend in the middle of the 19th century to commission full-length portraits of the members of aristocratic families, which led to a great quantity of paintings, and Dutch, German and Flemish manufacturers were busy coping with the demand from artists for broad-sized fabrics. One should recall the European galleries and the genealogies of particular dynasties.
The canvas of the "Javanese Couple" was, however, grounded by hand with a thin half oil-chalk base. The ground base coat ends at the border of the portrayal, and the tacking edges are not affected. This evidence shows that the painting was grounded by the artist himself after it was mounted on to the stretcher, but it is not possible to reach any conclusion regarding the stretcher’s construction since it has been lost. Even its exact size, usually visible due to different hygroscopic conditions where the wooden bars are fixed to the canvas, shows no traces of diffusion. Neither is there the mark of a crossbar, which would usually support the stretcher on the front side.
Raden Saleh, Javanese Couple, oil on canvas
(194 x 128 cm), 1837 (before restoration)
Right Hand of the Gentleman
Raden Saleh, Javanese Couple, oil on canvas, 1837, Detail (before restoration)
The painting was done in opaque coats with shaded areas; ornaments, attributes of decor, and the keys in the woman’s hand are highlighted in impastos. The canvas structure seeps through on to the front side of the painting and a fine craquelé runs through the entire portrayal. Remarkably, the right forearm and the hand of the gentleman show a painted correction, something we would call a “pentimenti” or “repentant move”, where we find an uncertainty of composition. The signature and date were written in script letters with red oil-color and have faded slightly, possibly due to the effect of cleaning on the red paint.
A “cachet”, which was commonly chosen in the second half of the 19th century to give paintings a deeper light and an older tint appears here as a brownish layer covering the whole portrait in the so-called gallery-tone. This, which in Dr. Werner Kraus’ writings is identified in the paintings of Raden Saleh as “bacon and smoke tone” is not bound with oil on the Double-Portrait. It was, rather thinly, rubbed on and recessed, and had melted into an insoluble mixture with the coat of paint. Our endeavors to dissolve this mixture, and our conjecture that it might be a coating of tinted glue regrettably could not be proven scientifically. We took specimens in the micro-range from the background to enable further research to be carried out in an attempt to provide an answer to this problem.
Earlier intensive attempts to clean the coating by unknown parties certainly produced an irregular deeper brown cover which, together with the effect by radiated ultra-violet light, left a very uneven and in places a completely abraded or wiped-off surface of cachet. This dark discoloration of the coating was evident at the lower edge and in the entire center of the painting, as well as in its upper region. The whole surface here seemed rancid, dry and diffuse.
The previously described oval-shaped water stain in the center of the painting had been subjected to further attempts of abrasive cleaning, which had created a faded and weathered “window” on the upper part of the gentleman’s torso. Not on were the coatings now partially opaque, marring the entire portrayal, but, most importantly, numerous injuries to the surface of the coating had destroyed the presentation; flaked parts, lost impasto layers, abrasions, traces of scratches, fracture lines, impact damages, soiled paint. The layers of paint had been largely abraded down to the canvas.
Just as improper attempts at cleaning had in times past damaged this painting, so the rolling up of this large-format portrait in an ill-mannered way (and without the use of a solid tube as a stabilizing medium) had led to further rhythmic cracking. In particular, there were flakes in the layers of paint all the way to the base in the form of distinct traction distortion along the vertical borders.
Thus, the examination of the painting had, in relation to its eventful history, produced many questions.
The decay of the binding medium within the paint had reduced adhesion due to the impact of too much humidity, and at the same time we were presented with a dried-out and brittle surface. Were there tropical deluges which inundated the object?
Was it torn from the stretcher because there was an urgent need for it to be concealed or moved elsewhere? Where and how was it stored and sold, and what were the nature of the damages which weakened the cracked roll? Most importantly, how many hands and treatments had touched the object to date? At this point one is reminded that, however tempting, a restorer’s responsibility is to avoid undue speculation.
There was only one fact that counted: this piece of art was in urgent need of an immediate and intensive treatment of consolidation. The examination showed that these measures needed to be carried out as soon as possible to prevent further decay and, for ethical reasons, to preserve this important work of
Raden Saleh, Javanese Couple, oil on canvas, 1837, Detail (after restoration)
Raden Saleh, Javanese Couple, oil on canvas, 1837, Detail (after restoration)
art for future generations.
Now, this ethical situation - which frequently arises - meant in this instance that restoration especially concerned the final varnish coatings. These needed to be restricted only to minimal measures which would serve preservation without losing sight of the aesthetics of the work. The premise of carrying out partial consolidation of paint layers rather than relining with impregnated mediums was strongly drawn into question by the degree of damage which required stabilization. As well as the standard list of measures for preservation, the principal premise remains, especially for valuable paintings such as this: there is a great reluctance to undertake cleaning which might eliminate any traces of history by attempts to remove the coatings.
Also the question of reversibility of any measures chosen for damage consolidation were given great consideration, as well as ensuring that materials to be applied were suitable for a tropical climate. Was it permissible to have a “150-year old seriously ill patient”, if I can use this analogy here, travel from Bali to Europe? How would “he” react to this new change of environment and how many times had “he” already experienced such east-west travel in the past?
The code of honor of restorers as defined by the national and international associations’ “Code of Ethics” in § A paragraph 5 reads: “A restorer should only carry out the minimal measures that are necessary, but also must not consciously neglect anything of importance.”
Decision to travel and methods of transaction
After investigations in our studio - which is specifically equipped with instruments such as a 40x technoscope - Petra Klier and I decided to transfer the object from Bali to Germany due to its decayed and damaged state. This transfer became necessary in order to execute a thorough and professional restoration.
Intensive but unsuccessful attempts to find a specialized large-diameter container for transport resulted in the use of PVC irrigation pipe as the stable painting support.
Japanese paper was used for initial consolidation in areas of heavier damage, and specifically ordered silicon paper was obtained from Germany to avoid any further abrasion or increased cracking. The canvas was then rolled with the painting layer on top. From past experience we understood that a formal request to an airline would normally succeed in allowing bulky objects such as this to be stored in the cabin, provided an agreement was reached with the captain.
The dirty surface of the back side of the painting was cleaned by applying only a very small amount of moisture and by brushing. A light grinding of the brown oil-paint on the back side and the removal of grease was necessary to increase the adhesive strength for further relining measures, which were necessary to support the holes and cracks from which the painting suffered. Bumps and warpings had to be slowly leveled by treatment with moisture, warmth and pressure. Broad fissures and holes were connected with frayed-out “bridges” of extremely thin cotton material, fixed with a micro-crystallized wax glue which we knew would remain reversible under the impact of heat. Four different glues, all of varying consistences and chemical compositions, were tested for application resulting in the selection of a specific acrylic product developed exclusively for restoration purposes. The relining canvas was prepared by washing, ironing and stretching, and an impregnation then applied to avoid shrinking of the fabric.
Since we had chosen to use a fixative - a Swiss acrylic glue from Lascaux - which could be removed at any time with the application of heat, rather than the use of a strong stiff relining, we only applied a thin layer of the glue onto the second relining canvas. An activation by toluene effected a fast connection between the two textiles. Grounding and layers of paint were fixed by the same method: an acrylic emulsion-dispersion adhesive liquid of high permeability thinned with demineralized water. Indeterminable hours during the entire project were consumed with stabilizing the layers of paint, because only after the eroded paint substance had been fixed could we start with the careful cleaning of the surface using slightly alcalic soap and a subsequent neutralization.
The paint-loss sections were filled with pre-tinted glue-chalk putties which were required to be particularly elastic, since the object had to be eventually returned to Indonesia. A pre-retouching with an acrylic and gouache medium sealed the putty-filled cleavages, and the final retouching procedure was completed with succeeding layers of oil-resin.
Coating and varnish
A thin coating of organic dammar-resin was employed as a temporary varnish and depleted areas of the coating were closed by applying an oil-resin glaze containing a small portion of wax. Extremely dark discolorations of the historic coating were then softened with a similar oil-resin varnish, and hence uneven illumination of the surface could be adjusted with dammar-resin dissolved in white spirit.
After returning the restored painting to Ubud in March 1996 we then mounted it on a hand-made stretcher frame in the ARMA Museum in Bali. During later visits to the Agung Rai Museum we conducted further visual examinations of the condition of layers of paint, varnish and infillings, but no evidence has been found of any essential change, except for a small distortion.
It has been heartening to participate in preserving this unconventionally painted double-portrait which all indications suggest was produced in Den Haag in 1837. The collection of the Museum in Ubud is considerably revalued by the inclusion of this incomparable and - in the history of painting in Indonesia - unique piece made by one of the most skillful and original Javanese artists of the 19th century, and our restorative endeavors have hopefully contributed to protecting it for future generations. The painting’s authenticity was never in doubt, even in its reduced condition, and it is assuredly a work of Raden Saleh Bustaman and an object of the first half of the 19th century.
An object of comparison
Surprisingly, two years later another painting on canvas reached us. It was approximately the same size and was also ascribed by Dr. Werner Kraus to Raden Saleh, an assertion we agreed with, as we then had the opportunity to make comparative technological examinations of the “Portrait of a Chinese Gentleman”, full length, oil on canvas 205 x 125 cm, with the previously described double-portrait with which this article is concerned.
This inspiring portrait of the Chinese gentleman, which also reached us in a seriously reduced condition, showing losses of the paint layers with vast areas painted over or abraded, was neither signed nor dated. It nevertheless shows without doubt certain stylistic and technological analogies. With this restoration project we had the possibility to conduct a detailed scientific examination of the paint layers and coatings by using fluorescent radiation analysis. After taking specimens and encapsulating micro-parts of pigment concentrate and binding content (observed in racked light enlarged in cross-sections to 90x to 180x), we obtained evidence that the floor and background consisted of coatings of tinted resin-oil glaze. An additional yellowing due to the increasing age of the painting had made the varnish even darker.
Specific concerns of over-painting of some details made us penetrate more deeply into the material properties of the object. We were not surprised to make the following further analogies:
a) The method of the setting of the impastos in the Double-Portrait is similarly presented in the painting with the Chinese gentleman.
b) Buttons and rings of the Chinese were highlighted in the same way as the attributes of the Javanese couple.
However, we were most surprised by the discovery of similar pentimenti (corrections of the composition) concerning the hands, which emerged as shadows after we had removed the varnish. If we recall the alterations of the contour of the right hand of the gentleman on the Double-Portrait, it seems obvious that the left hand of the Chinese was painted in an uncertain manner and afterwards corrected as was the contour of the right sleeve.
With both paintings the artist seems to have had problems in designing hands in an anatomically satisfying manner, and we chose not to conceal this significant expression of style by completely retouching any traces. A connoisseur will easily be able to discover the alterations of composition.
Also, both paintings show a pattern of simulated stone pavement with rhomboid and square floor patterns, which in the case of the "Javanese Couple" is sketched underneath with silver pencil. In the portrait, the bright floor under the figure of the Chinese gentleman (closed with various tratteggio retouching strokes over the sections of paint loss) shows a similar cubistic stone structure. All persons posing in a statue-like manner are standing en face and solidly positioned on this floor-pattern, a principle of composition which in its repetitive certainty was chosen by the artist for reasons of broadened perspective of space.
This work of art is part of a private collection in Jakarta and can be regarded, after its restoration, as a uniquely representative painting of high quality by Raden Saleh. I would date it to the middle of the 19th century.
Given that in the future my activities as a restorer and my change of residence to Indonesia will keep me occupied more in Indonesia than in Germany, I intend to continue this kind of technical and stylistic comparison with other paintings. With the aid of scientific research and by using fluorescence microscopy in cases of encapsulated pigment in cross sections, and binding specimen analysis to discover related similarities, one could certainly contribute greatly in extending the knowledge of this most skilled, successful and influential Javanese artist of the 19th century who worked in the tradition of European art. Twenty four portraits in Raden Salehís oeuvre are still missing. What a challenge is waiting in obscurity!
To restore prestigious artworks to their original quality gives Indonesians a unique opportunity to appreciate the full scope of the artist’s imagination, vision and expertise. The visitors to ARMA Museum receive a rare treat as they approach the Raden Saleh. And the collections in private hands and in other public museums are also enhanced through proper restoration and conservation. As the value of preserving works of art for future generations increases in importance in terms of the national heritage, I as restorer stand at the crossroads of east-west cultural cooperation and exchange. It is an honor and a challenge to be an active participant.
On the Authenticity of a Recently Discovered Painting by Raden Saleh
One of the jewels of the new Agung Rai Museum of Art (ARMA) in Ubud/Bali is a painting of the well-known Javanese painter Raden Saleh Bustaman (1811-1880). The oil on canvas painting, which measures 194 x 126 cm, is titled “Portrait of a Javanese Regent Couple”. It is signed and dated: R. Saleh 1837. This beautiful painting was up to now unknown to the art world. As far as I know, no document or source published ever mentioned this painting. Its provenance is not known to me. It seems that it survived 145 years of tropical climate - a rather surprising carrier for such a delicate thing as an oil painting. Some times ago the double-portrait was sent to Lüneburg/Germany and masterly restored by the well-known restoration workshop Renate Kant & Partners (see report in this issue of the Bulletin). It is now a centerpiece of the ARMA Museum in Bali, a must for all art connoisseurs.
Description of the painting
The painting shows a Javanese nobleman and his wife in life-size, standing in front of an empty brown background. This composition gives the double portrait a rather flat and modern appearance. Both persons on the painting are around 40 years of age. The male is some 10 inches taller than the female and stands in the right half directly facing the spectator. In relation to the woman, however, he stands on the left side, which in Javanese context is rather strange, since in Javanese cosmology the left side is identified as the female realm. In traditional Javanese houses women used to live in the quarters of the left half of the house. Walking with her husband in public space, the wife always took the left side. In the dualistic concept of the Javanese cosmos the left side represents earth, moon, feet, batik, snake, ocean, female etc., while the right side stands for sun, heaven, head, kris, bird, mountain, male etc.
Since the representation of the couple on the portrait is for sure no matter of chance and certainly not an accident, I assume, the position of the male who is standing on the left side of the woman, gives us a hint that he was no longer alive by the time the painting was made. In the afterworld the right-left pattern changes: what is classified as right in this world will be left in the hereafter and vice versa. The rather absent glance of the male, the direction he looks beyond the spectator, seems to support the hypothesis that he was already deceased by the time the portrait was painted. His expression is rather unemotional. His right foot is placed a little bit in front of him, so that his entire weight rests on his left (female!) leg. His arms hang down at the sides of his body; his hands are empty. He wears the stiff, black conical hat of a 19th century Javanese dignitary. But neither the hat nor the stiff collar of his grayish-blue coat is ornamented. That shows that the person is not a high official or important dignitary. The upper left pocket of his coat, with six buttons, apparently keeps a pocket watch. At least a chain comes out of this pocket and drops down to the second button. Underneath his coat he wears a white shirt, of which a small strip is seen near the collar and the wrists. That makes a nice optical separation between the head and the body and again between the arms and the hands. The only other garment the gentleman wears is a patterned brown batik sarong, which drapes, in traditional male style, in a long fold down the front of the lower part of his body. The pattern of the batik sarong is a so-called kawung pattern, stylized seeds of the areca palm. During the 19th century this pattern was reserved for the relatives of the sultan of Yogyakarta, reserved for all persons that were eligible for carrying the title of Raden Mas or Raden (Justine Boow, Symbol and Status in Javanese Batik, Nedlands, University of Western Australia, 1988, p. 71). The kris, which sticks in the back side of the sarong, is visible only partially on the right side of the man’s right upper arm. He wears neither shoes nor sandals but stands barefoot. The widely-spread toes of the man testify that he is used to walking without shoes.
To the right of the male figure stands a gentle woman who holds onto the right elbow of the man with her left hand. This is, in the context of Javanese etiquette, a rather intimate way of touching someone. It is not clear that the woman holds on for support, she might as well support or lead the man. If the man is, as I mentioned before, already deceased, then the woman might take the leading position. Her right hand holds a piece of white cloth with a key attached to it. The index, ring and little finger of her right hand are decorated with golden rings. The same is the case with the index and little finger of her left hand. The female figure, just as the male, faces the spectator. But contrary to the man she looks straight into the eyes of the spectator. Her beautiful face shows a sad expression. Her right eye is a bit larger than the left one; both ears are adorned with traditional golden Javanese earrings. Her blue jacket of Chinese style is buttoned up to the neck and additionally held together by a diamond brooch. The jacket reaches down to her hip joints and, besides a brown sarong, is the only garment we can see. The dark and light brown sarong is batiked with diagonal running lozenges of a flower-and-seed motif which comes together to form patterns of eight-folded flowers. Up to now I have not yet succeeded in identifying the name or the social importance of that pattern. The woman is barefoot as well, but her toes are not as wide-apart as those of her husband.
The brown background of the painting is totally flat and does not show any details. Only the lower fifth is divided from the rest by a horizontal line which marks the edge of the floor. The flatness of the painting and the absence of depth and space create some reminiscences about traditional Javanese paintings on the one hand, and makes it look amazingly modern on the other hand. The sad and restrained expression of the couple, which creates a strange distance between the spectator and the painting, intensifies this impression. It is an unique piece of art, totally beyond the style of the 1830's and never repeated by Raden Saleh or anyone else.
Because of the strange impression the painting creates, its authenticity remained not unchallenged in Indonesia. The authorship of Raden Saleh was cast in doubt recently. The signature was called a fraud. Some observers attributed the painting to a certain Raden Salip. I don’t know anything about the reasons the critics had and whether their remarks are justified by professional knowledge or just an expression of envy. A Javanese painter by the name of Raden Salip never came across my eyes. I never heard or read about an artist of that name. But the name of Raden Salip reminds me of the name of the young Raden Saleh, which was Sarip Saleh. Even after he had moved to Holland people called him by that name. The word sarip or salip is the Javanese form of the Arabic title sharif. A sharif is a person who stands in the line of direct descent from the Prophet. Maybe the painter Raden Salip is a result of a certain confusion created by the two names of Raden Saleh. As far as I know Raden Saleh never had a student by the name of Salip. In fact we know only about two students of his who practiced the art of painting with any consequence: Raden Koesoema di Brata and Raden Mangkoe Mihardjo. He certainly must have instructed more young aspiring artists then just those two. But so far we do not know any other names. By the way Raden Saleh asked the government to give a scholarship to his two most talented students, Raden Koesoema di Brata and Raden Mangkoe Mihardjo, in order to send them to Europe. But the governor of the East Indies refused to do so. It seems that one Raden Saleh meant trouble enough for the Dutch administration (see: Algemeen Dagblad van Nederlandsch Indie, 21.3.1876). Academic painters, and only such a one can be regarded as the author of the portrait in question, were a rare species in the Netherlands East Indies. Besides Raden Saleh there was just Jan Daniel Beynon. An academically trained painter by the name of Raden Salip never existed in the very thin volume of Javanese art history of the 19th century.
To establish without doubt the authorship of Raden Saleh, three question have to be answered: 1. When was the portrait painted? 2. Who could be the couple represented in the portrait? 3. Who else, if not Raden Saleh, could be the painter?
1.When was the portrait painted?
Renate Kant, who restored the painting in question, established without doubt that the canvas is of 19th century Dutch origin, woven in one piece (which was not possible in Java of those days). The undercoat, the paint and the varnish are as well identified as materials of the last century. The pitiful condition of the painting before restoration is proof enough to rule out any doubt that the portrait was not produced during the last 50 years. For better details on the technical aspects, refer to the article of Renate Kant in this issue.
If we accept the signature of the painting, and there is no reason to doubt it, then we accept also that the double portrait was painted in The Hague, since Raden Saleh lived in 1837 in that city .
2. The identity of the couple on the double portrait
If the double portrait was painted in The Hague in 1837 - as the signature says - then it cannot be a portrait painted from nature. In that time, besides Raden Saleh, only one other Javanese lived in Holland. This was Raden Ngabehi Poespa Wi Laga, a Javanese who arrived together with J.A. Palm of the Dutch Bible Society in 1835 in the Netherlands. Raden Ngabehi Poespa Wi Laga lived in Zoonen near Haarlem where he was engaged in supervising the production of letters in Javanese script, which was commissioned by the Dutch Bible Society. The Javanese letters were needed to print the Bible in Javanese language. Besides Raden Ngabehi Poespa Wi Laga and Raden Saleh Bustaman bin Yahya no other Javanese male who could have served as a model was present in Holland during the 1830's. And there was certainly no Javanese woman of any reputation in Europe during that time. The first Javanese woman of rank (and as such the person on the portrait has to be classified) who traveled to Europe was Raden Saleh’s second wife Raden Ayu Danudiredjo. She accompanied the aging painter during his second and last journey through the continent from 1875 to 1879. A local Batavian newspaper wrote on the occasion of Raden Saleh’s departure: “As a curiosity we have to add that the wife of Raden Saleh will be the first Javanese woman of rank visiting Europe” (Javabode May 19, 1875). In 1837 no Javanese woman, besides some house servants and prostitutes, lived in the Netherlands.
That makes it pretty clear that the double-portrait was not painted from nature but in recollection or in remembrance of a couple that Raden Saleh was familiar with back in his homeland. Thus again the question arises: who is the couple on the portrait?
If somebody paints a rather moving portrait of remembrance of a couple of his race, then he must have a good reason for it. I believe the reason was homesickness and the couple on the painting is nobody else but Raden Saleh’s parents. Raden Saleh recreated for himself, to survive the pain of separation, the life-size presence of his parents, Sayid Husen bin Alwi bin Awal and Raden Ayu Sarif Husen bin Alwi bin Awal.
I mentioned already that the gentleman of the double portrait was most probably no longer alive by the time the work was made. There is a high probability that Sayid Husen bin Alwi bin Awal was not alive any longer at this time. We do not know exactly when he died, but it is certain that in 1843 he had already passed away. In this year his wife, Raden Ayu Sarif Husen bin Alwi bin Awal, wrote a letter to the Dutch resident in Semarang in which she pleaded that her son should be sent back to Java. If the father would still have been alive, certainly he would have written the letter. Another indication of his death is the key in the right hand of the woman. It is not quite sure what that symbol really means. Does it indicate that the widow holds the “key position” in the house, the sole responsibility for the family? Or does the key point to the fact that the woman is the “juru kunci”, the guard of the key, to the holy grave of Kyai Bustaman, the common grandfather of Raden Saleh’s parents. Kyai Bustaman’s grave in Bergota, Terboyo in Semarang was for a long time a “kramat”, a place abundant with supernatural power. Whether the possible role as “juru kunci” was inherited by the Raden Ayu from her husband or from her father (a former hoofd-penghulu - highest Islamic functionary- of Semarang) is not clear.
In all probability Raden Saleh’s father died while Saleh was still a child. After all he was raised by his uncle Raden Adipati Surohadimenggolo, Regent of Semarang. Raden Saleh certainly meant Surohadimenggolo when he told his German friend, Count Arthur von Mensdorff, a number of anecdotes about his scholarly father (see: Friedrich Hofmann, “Ein Prinz und Maler Indiens”, Gartenlaube 25, 1864). H.J. De Graaf in his article “Het Semerangse Geslacht Bustaman in de 18e en 19e Eeuw: Afkomst en Jeugd van Raden Saleh” (Bijdragen tot de Taal-, Land- en Volkenkunde, (BKI) Bd. 135, No.2/3 (1979), pp. 252-281) seems to assume as well that Raden Saleh’s father died rather early. Saleh himself never mentions his father nor his mother nor any sisters or brothers in his letters, he only talks about cousins.
All things considered, the hypothesis that the homesick Raden Saleh painted in 1837 a life-size portrait of his parents gives an answer to most of the questions we are faced with by studying this work. The fact that the painting was never mentioned in any document or publication supports that assumption. He regarded it as a personal “pusaka”, an intimate shrine, an icon which was not meant for public curiosity.
3. Who else if not Raden Saleh could be the painter of the “Javanese Couple”?
During the 19th century no Javanese painter - besides Saleh- had the technical skill to produce a painting of that quality. The only other academically trained artist in 19th century Batavia, Daniel Beynon, was self-confident enough not to sign his paintings with the signature of Raden Saleh. Up to now fake paintings of Raden Saleh were not known. Until recently the prices for his paintings were rather low. He only was known to insiders and nobody thought about forging a Raden Saleh.
Raden Saleh in 1837
In 1837 Raden Saleh was already a reputed portrait-painter in The Hague. He had finished a large number of orders and government commissions. In that year he finished, as far as I know, at least four portraits and a large triple-portrait. The portraits of J.C.Scholten van Oud Haarlem, Richard Leeuwenhart van den Bosch, Henry Martin and Hendrik Hentzepeter. We know where the three last mentioned paintings are kept. The portrait of the young R.L. van den Bosch is part of the Dr. J.H.O. Graf van den Bosch collection in Amersfort, the portrait of the lion-tamer Henry Martin hangs in the Historical Museum of Rotterdam and the portrait of the merchant Hendrik Hentzepeter is part of the collection of the Museum van den Tropen in Amsterdam. These three portraits are very different from our double-portrait. They are carried out in the conventional Dutch style of the time - dark backgrounds and light faces. Almost no color and no expression. But all paintings are signed and a comparison of these signatures with the signature on the double portrait should be able to determine the time and the place where our portrait, without any doubt, was painted .
There seems to be a much closer connection between the double portrait of the Javanese couple and the triple portrait of General Verveer and the two young Ashanti princes Aquasi Boachi and Kwame Poko, which was painted in 1837 as well. This painting was about the same size as the double portrait and it was painted for a similar reason. It was to be sent to the father, e.g., uncle of the two young princes, the Ashantehene Kwakudua II, to relieve his grief about his far away children. Saleh received Dfl 900.- for that government commission, a considerably good payment. The painting was taken to the Dutch fort Elmina on the Goldcoast, but never reached Kumase, the royal city of the Ashanti. The canvas was too large to be carried overland, the pathways through the savanna and woodlands were too small. The triple portrait finally rotted away in the residence of the governor of Elmina. By the year 1864 it was just a piece of rotten material. So unfortunately, the most important piece to compare our double portrait with was lost on the west coast of Africa.
Considering all the arguments we have to concede that any other authorship but Raden Saleh’s is inconceivable. The double portrait is a work of Raden Saleh and represents most probably his parents. He painted it in cold and lonely The Hague and used it as an icon, as a magical weapon against the recurring feelings of longing for his beloved parents back in Java. How it survived and made its way back to Java is one of those wonders we have to be grateful about. The “Javanese Couple” is a singular work of Raden Saleh. It is incredibly strong in its expression and modern in its composition. It is a true masterpiece.
Saleh : Aristocrat, Painter, and Scientist *)
Harsja W. Bachtiar
On Friday, April 23, 1880, at 13:00 o’clock, the celebrated Javanese painter Raden Saleh died1 from a thrombosis attack at his residence in the mountain town of Bogor2 then also known by its Dutch name as Buitenzorg, about 60 kilometers south of Jakarta, then more known as Batavia.
On Sunday morning, the funeral procession left his stately residence, located near the palace of the Governor General or the Netherlands-Indies, to carry the remains for the burial to Kampung Empang, at the outskirts of the town.
A correspondent of the Java Bode daily wrote the following eye witness report of the procession (original in Malay) :
The body of Raden Saleh was accompanied by many government functionaries, the Resident, Mr. Boetmy and other landowners, hajis, a troupe of Muslims of high as well as low rank and Javanese persons, including the Javanese youngsters of the Agricultural School : all of them accompanied the deceased to the burial place. Islamic religious functionaries (penghulu) and teachers (kyai), in addition to other religiously devoted individuals, also participated in the procession. Throughout the route these Muslim and Javanese, particularly those who were religiously inclined, chanted with sorrowful voices : “There is only one God and Muhammad is his prophet.” The body was carried by four Javanese government functionaries. Behind the deceased a sergeant walked while holding a silver plate (manampan). On the plate were five honorary medals which Raden Saleh acquired during his life-time from a number of kingdoms . . . .
At about seven o’clock the body was properly buried.
Thus, the funeral ceremony was attended by representatives from practically all sectors and levels of the colonial community in Bogor.
Raden Saleh had achieved greatness as the first indigenous painter in the Indonesian archipelago to have mastered the techniques of European art painting and to have acquired recognition from the mighty protectors and benefactors of the fine arts in nineteenth century Europe.
His greatness as a painter, however, has overshadowed some of his other meritorious accomplishments, particularly his accomplishments in the scientific field, an aspect which will be given some more attention in the present preliminary study.
Furthermore, his greatness as a painter, albeit a painter with a definitely European style, has compelled some present day Indonesians to claim him not only as a great painter but as an Indonesian painter with a pronounced nationalist if not distinct radical bent, a characterization which, although attractive in present-day nationalist conscious Indonesia, is not at all in accordance with the relevant historical facts. This newly created myth will be shown to have no sustaining basis and therefore should be forcefully rejected.
Raden Saleh was born at Terboyo in the area of Semarang, Central Java, in about 1814, a date presumably given by Saleh himself.
His father was Sayid Hoeseen bin Alwi bin Awal and his mother Mas Adjeng Zarip Hoeseen. Both parents were grandchildren of Kyai Ngabehi Kertoboso Boestam (1681-1759), Under-Regent of Terboyo and founder of the now extensive Bustaman family of regents, patihs, and other prominent members of the aristocratic priyayi class.
Kertoboso Boestam, a loyal, effective translator and interpreter for the Dutch East Indian Company, was granted a large piece of land at Terboyo by the Company in appreciation of his unusual services, particularly during the difficult period of armed conflict between the Susuhunan, together with the Chinese, and the Dutch. When practically all Javanese chiefs and other indigenous functionaries took the side of the Susuhunan and the Chineses rebels, Kertoboso Boestam remained loyal to the Company. In 1747 the Susuhunan lost and had to relinquish the entire northern coastal areas of Java, including Semarang area, to the Dutch Company. The appreciative Dutch colonial Government, acting on behalf fo the Company, also elevated one of Kertoboso Boestam’s ten offsprings as Regent of Semarang and two other sons respectively as Regent of Lasem and Regent of Batang. A son of the Regent of Batang and therefore a grandson of Kertoboso Boestam was appointed Regent of Pekalongan. In this manner the Boestaman family was raised by the Dutch in social status to the highest attainable level in the northern coastal area of Java.
The father of Raden Saleh was a son of the ninth offspring of Kertoboso Boestam - a daughter named Nyai Sayid Alwi bin Awal ;bin Yahya - and the mother a daughter of the seventh offspring - a son named Kyai Haji Agoeng Mohammad Boestam, Chief Penghulu of Semarang.
Apparently Saleh spent his childhood at the home of Kyai Adipati Soero Menggolo, Regent of Semarang at Terboyo until 1822. The Regent was an uncle of Saleh, being the son of the seventh offspring of Saleh’s great-grand-father, the afore-mentioned Kyai Ngabehi Kertoboso Boestam. The Regent was a very knowledgeable and progressive man. He was, among others, a member of the small but exclusive Javaansch Weldadig Genootschap, a philanthropic society which was established in 1816. In 1822 the society had only 21 members, consisting of Dutch high officials, including Baron van der Capellen - then Governor General of the Netherlands Indies - who ex officio was also the society’s Protector and his wife, prominent clergymen, businessmen, and three indigenous individuals, namely Panembahan Noto Kusumo of Sumenep, Regent Adimenggolo of Semarang an, and Raden Mas Saleh. President of the society was the Roman Catholic priest Philippus Wedding, while the Secretary was J. van der Vinne, School Inspector and member of the Commission of Education for Batavia and its surrounding areas. The Regent seemed to have encouraged his nephew’s keen interest in drawing and in European culture.
It is not quite clear when and in what manner Saleh, still as a small boy, left Semarang for West Java. It is only known that in one way or other the Belgian art painter Antoine Auguste Joseph Paijen (1792-1853), who arrived in Batavia in 1817, recognized Saleh’s artistic gift and, with the consent of the boy’s family, took him to Cianjur, then capital of the Residency of the Preanger Regencies. Most probably, the event ocurred in 1822 when Lieut.-Colonel Jonkheer Robert Lieve Jasper van der Capellen (1784-1860), the Resident in Cianjur and younger brother of Governor General Baron van der Capellen, had just opened a small school for native youngsters in a building used for religious services by Ambonese Christians. The liberal minded aristocratic Resident had appointed a haji as master of the school to attract support from the indigenous families. The Regent of Cianjur and the First Native Writer were assigned to supervise the daily activities at the school, while a Dutch official at the Office of the Resident, engaged in the study of native languages, was assigned to act as overall supervisor of the school. Instruction covered reading and writing Malay in both Javanese and Roman script, elementary arithmetic, and the Arabic script. Most probably, Paijen had placed Saleh - or Sarib Saleh as he called himself - at this particular school; there were no other schools in Cianjur at that time.
Paijen himself lived in Bogor, between Cianjur and Batavia. He was attached as government art painter to Professor C.G.C. Reinwardt, Director of Agriculture, Arts and Sciences and founder of the now famous Bogor Botanical Garden.
Apparently, either through the agency of the Resident of Cianjur or of Paijen, Saleh also caught the attention of the Governor General, Godert Alexander Gerard Philip Baron van der Capellen (1778-1848), a scholarly oriented aristocrat and statesman whowas very much interested in promoting the study of indigenous languages and cultures. Baron van der Capellen was, of course, aso very active in re-astablishing Durch colonial rule in various areas of the Indonesian archipelago after the British froces left the scene.
After his stay in Cianjur, Saleh stayed with Paijen in Bogor. Paijen gave the boy instruction in drawing and painting. The painter also took the boy with him on some fo his journeys to make drawings and lithos of a diversity of natural objects for Professor Reinwardt’s scientific investigations.
Paijen returned to Europe in the beginning of 1825. Saleh, then, became a member of the household of the Belgian Jean Baptiste de Linge and his wife, Colette Therese Verrue, in Batavia  De Linge was an accountant at the General Directorate of Finance where, in 1828, he became Inspector of Finance. When at the end of 1829 de Linge was instructed by Commissioner General du Bus de Gesignies to make the journey to Holland in order to report on the financial state of the colony to the King, Saleh went together with de Linge and his family on board the ship ‘Pieter en Karel’.
Very likely, the cost of Saleh’s travel was born by the Javaansch Weldadig Genootschap, the philanthropic society which, in 1829, was managed by the businessman John Davidson in Semarang and which still had Kiai Adipati Soero Adimenggolo, Saleh’s uncle, as one of its members and J. van der Vinne as the society’s Secretary. Former Resident van der Capellen, since 1827 recognized as a Baron, was also still a member of the society’s managing commission.
When de Linge was scheduled to return to Batavia, Saleh asked for permission to stay for a longer period in Holland in order to learn more. He submitted a request to the Minister of Waterworks, National Industry, and Colonial Affairs, Jhr. Mr. G.G. Clifford, for Government financial support. The Minister responded by writing a memorandum about Raden Saleh to the King, advising die King to permit Saleh to stay in Holland for two years at the expense of the colonial treasury. F 4000 would be needed to meet the cost.
The painter Paijen, who upon returning to Holland had been appointed instructor of drawing at the Marine Institute at Medemblik, also wrote a strong letter of recommendation for his ‘ancien eleve’, former pupil, whom he had the opportunity to see again in Holland.
King William I of North Netherlands agreed with the advise of his Minister and approved the proposed expenditure for Saleh’s further education. Saleh became ‘Child of State’ under the immediate supervision of Jean Chretien Baud (1789-1859), Director of East Indian Colonial Affairs and former General Secretary of the colonial Government in Batavia until he returned to Holland in1821. Baud, a man with a large familiy, gave Saleh his personal sympathetic attention.
Saleh was accomodated in the house of J.W. Nibbelink, a government functionary who lived at the Boschkant, later to become the Prinsessegracht - corner of the Herengracht, The Hague.
Arrangements were immediately made to enable the young man to learn Dutch ; he got language instruction from a teacher named J. Verheys. Arrangements were also made to enable him to study arithmetic from the teacher Ten Brummeler. His study in drawing and painting will be discussed in a later part of this essay.
The rather independent minded Saleh stayed with the elderly Nibbelink only for a year or so, for in December 1832 he is known to live elsewhere ; he had rented a room at the Hoogstraat and obtained his midday meals from a cook. From the receipts of his purchases, now kept at the Royal General State Archives, it is known that Raden Saleh wore ‘a super fine Russion green winter coat, a flowery vest, a fine olive colored jacket and a fine colored long trousers and similar vest ; furthermore, English shirts with batist jabots, which in their pleatet fall were a beautiful part of a gentleman’s dress in that period.’
In his own homeland in the archipelago, Saleh already moved in the upper circles of both indigenous and colonial society, the latter where scions of Dutch aristocratic families, like Baron van der Capellen, held sway. In Holland he continued, and intensified, his association with members of the Dutch aristocracy and prominent burgher families. Saleh painted portraits of several of these aristocrats and burghers, at their request as well as at his own initiative as a token of appreciation and deep gratitude for the friendship they bestowed upon him.
Saleh extendet his association with aristocratic friends and acquaintances also beyond the boundaries of the kingdom of the Netherlands when, in 1839, he was given the opportunity to make a study tour to a number of countries in Europe, such as Germany, Austria, Italy, and France, afterwards to settle in Dresden for some time. In Dresden he associated himself with King Friedrich August II of Saxony. He also stayed at Coburg, Gotha and Paris for a considerable time.
The Grand Duke of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, first Ernest I (1784-1844) and then, since 1844, Ernest II (1818-1893), virtually assumed the responsibility as the painter’s principle patron and close friend.
Grand Duke Ernest II was a brother of Prince Albert, Consort of Queen Victoria fo England, while his father’s sister Victoria - the mother of Queen Victoria - was the wife of the Duke of Kent. These fortunate affiliations provided Saleh with the opportunity to get acquainted with members of the English ruling family who commissioned him to paint several paintings. Saleh painted, among others, a protrait of Grand Duke Ernest I and his sister, the Duchess of Kent. The Prince Consort of England himself commissioned Saleh to paint two subjects relating to Javanese life and scenery.
The painter was not a high ranking aristocrat in his own homeland, Java ; nevertheless, he was frequently introduced at the various courts and elsewhere in Europe as a Javanese Prince, 'le prince javanais', an image he did not attempt to correct. On the contrary, he liked to appear in full ornate, in a costume partly Javanese and partly self created, which gave him a strikingly handsome appearance as obviously an Oriental of high birth.
At the end of 1844, when Saleh's frequently renewed Dutch government fellowship was again due to expire, the painter left Coburg for The Hague to present the King, now William II (1792-1849), with a large painting abd to discuss his own future. It was winter time and the roads werre covered by frost. In Cologne Saleh took the train to Antwerpen (Anvers), where he stayed for one day. Then, he continued his journey to Brussels and on to The Hague through Breda.
In Holland he received several letters from his relatives in Java who urged him to return home. He replied to them that he intended to stay in Europe for some more years since he felt he had not acquired all that he felt he ought to acquire in this fascinating part of the world.
At his audience with the King, a lover of the fine arts, he presented His Majesty with a large painting depicting a struggle between two lions engaged in a tremendous contest with a bull. When the painter took leave, the King shook his hands warmly and awarded him with the Knighthood of the Order of the Oaken Crown (Eikenkroon), an event which occurred on December 20, 1844. The Order of the Oaken Crown was established by the King in his capacity as Grand Duke of Luxemburg three years earlier to award persons for civilian and military services and for outstanding artists. Saleh regarded the award as a rare great honor for a Javanese.
Raden Saleh did not remain in Holland for a long period. On January 1, 1845, he left The Hague, this time to go to Paris where he wanted to study the works of the great masters in painting and to learn French, the language of the European aristocracy. In Antwerpen he again stayed for one day, in Brussels for four days and in Turnaij, where he met an old acquaintance from Java, for three days. Finally he arrived in Paris where he took up lodging in a small but nice guesthouse. He was fascinated by what he called Weltstadt although it was not easy for him to acquire friends in the first weeks of his stay in Paris in spite of the fact that, as he observed, people were interested in his dark skin color in combination with his decorated extraordinary dress. Among the vast number of people it was a rare occasion, indeed, to come across an acquaintance, let alone a friend, a situation which he nostalgically compared with the situation in the friendly and romantic towns of Coburg and Gotha.
The Dutch ambassador was very helpful and endeavored to get him introduced to the French King, Louis Philippe. Saleh did his utmost to prepare himself for the audience with the bourgois-like King by concentrating his attention on the study of the French language. King Louis Philippe, in the company of his family, received Raden Saleh in audience on May 1, 1845, an event which paved him the way to getting accepted by the Parisian aristocracy. The King informed the Javanese painter that he was acquainted with the fact that Saleh had stayed at the court of the Grand Duke of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha for quite a long time.
While in Paris, Saleh also had the opportunity to attend cultural soirees and dancing parties held at the various salons of the aristocracy. The Petit courier des dames of March 5, 1845 contains a description of such a resplendant party, given by Madame de la P . . . ., and attended by Raden Saleh, dressed in an elegant, exquisite costume. Present were such luminaries of the artistic and literary world as the independent minded journalist J.-B. Alphonse Karr, the celebrated author Alexandre Dumas, the poet novelist, drama critique and historian Hippolyte Lucas, Etienne Arago, Madame Melanie Walder and the beautiful Comtesse de Renneville, all attired in appropriate, picturesque and gay costumes for the lively waltzes and mazurkas.
The painter lived in style and even acquired his own personal valet. The valet, named Cobellie, was brought from Coburg to Paris. Unfortunately the servant proved to be far from orderly and was neither faithful nor trustworthy. In a letter to the Grand Duke of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, Saleh complained that the servant lacked any sense of obedience so that neither good nor harsh words could move him to do what he was asked to do. Consequently, after a few days of service, the servant was sent back to Coburg and Saleh had to find himself a new servant, a social requisite for a true aristocrat.
Saleh had his own attelier, located at Allee de Veuves No. 31, a street which begins in front of the Elysee Bourbon on the Champs Elysees across the boulevard, within walking distance from Arc de Triomph. The attelier was surrounded by a small garden and hat a patch of ground in front of it to enable horses to be brought in.
At the end of 1847, Saleh made a brief visit to Dresden to see one of his close friends, Major von Serre, who was reported to be seriously ill. On this occasion he did not see the Grand Duke, Ernest II, because he had to hurry back to Paris where he had to finish three paintings which he promised would be finished and delivered on February 20, 1848. Nevertheless, while in Dresden, he met Baron von Griesheim who, on behalf of the Grand Duke, invited the painter to go with him to Gotha, an invitation which brought tears to Saleh’s eyes, the painter being much affected by this gesture of true friendship. But he still had to decline the invitation to enable him to return to Paris as soon as possible.
Saleh kept correspondence with the Grand Duke of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha and other exalted persons outside the French capital. In his letters to the Grand Duke, Saleh called his German patron ‘Koenigliche Hoheit. Sehr verehrter Freund,’ a phrase which is indicative of the nature of their social relationship, as is also the phrase he used to sign his letters, ‘Mit herzlichen Gruessen. Eurer Koeniglichen Hoheit ergebenster Freund.’
When the now famous February revolution, which caused King Louis Philippe and his family to flee from their homeland and which led to political repercussions elsewhere in Europe, broke out in Paris, Saleh was present on the scene, but did not share his sympathy with the rebels. He was continuously on the side of the establishment. In a New Year message to the Grand Duke of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, Saleh wished him - “der Sonnenschein meines Lebens” - his most obedient and warmest wishes, including the wish that ‘the unfortunate political clouds would be cleared up.”
Already in January 1848 Saleh expressed his intention to go to Holland in June of the same year to present the King with a painting and to discuss his impending journey home to Java. A month later he indicated his wish to take leave from the Grand Duke and to express again his deep gratitude to his august patron, either in Coburg or in Gotha, in the beginning of August before he would embark on his long journey to Java.
Saleh did not return to Holland before 1850. King William III, who was instituted as King of the Nederlands in the Spring of 1849, awarded Saleh with the distinguished official title of ‘the King’s Painter’, probably not only in recognition of his extraordinary accomplishments as a painter but also to help facilitate the painter’s re-integration among his social hierarchy conscious fellow Javanese in his homeland, a problem which had been the deep concern of the various Dutch functionaries who were responsible for making decisions with respect to the painter whenever they were faced with the problem of his return to Java.
(to be continued)
Raden Saleh: One Javanese - Two Personalities
An Example of the Disastrous Effects of Dutch Language Policy in 19th Century Java
One of the privileges of power is to force people to speak your language. Another privilege of power is to restrain people from talking to you in your own language. Both privileges have been widely used throughout history. Certainly they were used by the different colonial powers.
The French colonialists, confident of their own cultural superiority, stuck to the first privilege. They more or less forced their subjects to speek French. The Dutch, as a small nation perhaps not as selfassured, restricted the use of their language in their East-Indian possessions at least until the end of the 19th century. "Natives" (inlanders) were not allowed to learn Dutch or even address a Dutchman in his own language. Charles Kinloch brought it to the point in his "Rambles in Java and the Straits in 1852": "European languages, as also European history, are carefully excluded from (...) all the native schools, from an apprehension (...) that such knowledge might possibly prove too dangerous a weapon in the hands of the natives." Another source, the German author Therese von Lützow, wife of the military commander of East Java, is even more outspoken: “All Malays who aquire European knowledge, are of no use for Java and they are, because of there liberal ideas, not allowed to return to the island. ... because a thinking man is a horror to the Dutch who demand blind submission”.
That language served as a crucial means of power and status, was of course not only known to European colonialists, but to other authorities as well. The Javanese language with its different speech levels is a striking example for this. And it is likely that Dipanegara's (1785-1855) order during the Java War, that all his European prisoners should speak to their captors in high Javanese, was more than a mere reaction to the contemporary Dutch language policies. More probably it was an expression of Javanese feelings of cultural superiority. It was certainly a statement of his own concept of power (kasektèn). In any case, after the tables were turned on him and he was tricked into captivity by the Dutch, Dipanegara always refused to accept Malay as a medium of communication throughout his negotiations and subsequent exile, since he regarded Malay as the "language of chickens (basa pitik) which no ruler in Java wished to listen to". He was obviously referring to the so-called "dienstmaleisch" or "brabbel-Maleisch", the language used by Dutch officials when addressing their indigenous bureaucratic associates. This sort of Malay, which must have been a horror to indigenous ears, even found its way into early grammars and phrasebooks. The German general Friedrich von Gagern (1794-1848), who travelled through Java between 1844 and 1846, commented on this in his diary: "A. Schleiermachers grammar, published in Darmstadt, (...) gives me a lot of joy. The one written by Roorda van Eisinga , (...), is meant for officers who have to prepare themselves for their dealings with their future Javanese boys and housekeepers" 
Throughout the nineteenth century, the vast majority of Dutch officals could not accept that natives, no matter how well educated they were, should talk to them in Dutch. Raden Ajeng Kartini (1879-1904) writes in one of her letters rather sarcastically: "Why do many Hollanders find it unpleasant to converse with us in their own language? Oh yes, now I understand; Dutch is too beautiful to be spoken by a brown mouth."  It took two administrative attempts by the colonial authorities to break down the wall around the Dutch language built up so assiduously by Dutch offical prejudice, one in 1890, another in 1906. Both were published in the Bijblad op het Staatsblad van Nederlandsch-Indie. This "exclusive wall" was in the first hand not built by deliberate colonial policies, but by the common racist attitudes of ordinary Dutch officials. But they didn't go, as John Hoffman has pointed out, unchallenged by some of their more liberal-minded colleagues.
The discriminatory use of languages is hardly ever mentioned in nineteenth-century Dutch texts. In the four volumes of “Java. Geographisch, Ethnologisch, Historisch.” by P. J. Veth, Dutch language politics is talked about in two sentences only: "Half by instinct, half by design the Dutch opposed the use of their language, even when spoken by high native officials. The opinion that a Javanese is not entitled to talk to a Dutchman, let alone a Dutch colonial offical, in Dutch is now slowly passing away."
English and German writers were usually much more struck by Dutch language policies. For example, J.W.B.Money, a Calcutta solicitor, who spent a long holiday with his wife in Java in 1857, gave some striking examples of the way this policy worked in practice. In his book "Java, or how to manage a colony", he writes: "for the (...) purpose of upholding European prestige, Dutch opinion discourages the Native use of any but Oriental languages. During the whole of my stay in Java (...) I only met one Native who could speak any European tongue (...). (He) was a Javanese of high family who had been in Europe, and who, at Paris, had become a first rate artist. (...) He spoke English, French and German well, and Dutch probably as well as the languages in which I was competent to gauge his efficiency. He told me that whenever he spoke any European language to a Dutchman, privately or official, he was almost always answered in Malay or Javanese". Money doesn't give us the name of this Javanese, but it is clear that Raden Saleh was meant.
Raden Saleh (1811-1880), a unique individual in the Javanese society of his days, was a most accomplished painter and a cosmopolitan socialité. In the words of Charlotte Canning, Lady-in-Waiting to Queen Victoria, he was "(...) a regular German Dandy with the most Prussian manners". Saleh's artistic gift was first recognized by the Belgian painter Antoine Auguste Joseph Payen (1792-1853), who gave him his first lessons in drawing. After he had spent a couple of years in a small school for native youngsters in Cianjur, he was taken to Batavia and accompanying the Inspector of Finance, Jean Baptist de Linge, for Europe in 1829. Dutch accounts usually state that Raden Saleh was taken along to help de Linge polish his Malay and Javanese language skills. Later in Dresden Saleh himself insisted, that he was taken as a hostage to Europe. There might by some truth in his allegation since he was a nephew of Bupati of Semarang, who's family was involved in Dipanagara's rebellion. More probably his stay in Europe was a lucky chance which he was clever enough to grasp. In The Hague he received instructions in Dutch, arithmetic and, most importantly, in portrait and landscape painting. His most influencial teachers were the celebrated portrait painter Cornelis Kruseman (1797-1857) and the landscape painter Andreas Schelfhout (1787-1870). In 1839, after the Dutch Government didn't know anymore what to do with this independent minded young Javanese, who not only produced a never ending list of unpaid tailor bills but, to the dismay of his Dutch mentors, started a number of love affairs with white Dutch women as well. Therefore, he was sent on a study-trip through Europe in 1839, which took him to Dresden (1839-1844) and Paris (1845-1851).
In 1852 he arrived back in Batavia and started a career as a portrait and landscape painter. But the colonial situation was not supportive for an artist, especially not for a native one. In Dresden and Paris he was introduced into the intellectual and elite circles, conversed with aristocrats and famous artists in Dutch, German, English and French. After he had returned to Java he was forced to reconcile himself again to the status of a brown second class citizen. He suffered much from the racist attitudes so prevalent in the Netherland-Indies of his days. He was, for example, accused on trumped up charges of being a potential rebel and a Prussian spy and eventually died as a broken man in 1880.
His experiences will be used here to demonstrate how Dutch language policies worked in practice at the personal level and how these policies shaped the paternalistic Dutch view of the "childlike" quality of the native Javanese.
The basic materials used here will be two sets of letters written by Raden Saleh. The first written between 1841 and 1845 to Jean Chretien Baud (1789-1859), then serving as the Dutch Minister of the Colonies (1840-1848); the second, penned between 1845 and 1849, was addressed to the Duke of Sachsen-Coburg and Gotha (1818-1893), a cousin and brother-in-law of Queen Victoria and one of Saleh's closest friends and patrons. The first collection consisting of sixteen letters is kept at the Rijksarchief in The Hague and is written in Malay. The second, written in German, totals fifteen letters, and is now in the Staatsarchiv in Coburg.
While reading through the two sets of letters, it is striking how the different facets of Saleh's personality emerge. In his Malay-language letters Saleh appears as the stereotypical contemporary Javanese known from Dutch colonial sources. He appears to have no self-confidence, lacks self assurance and is always on the defensive. At the same time the tone of his letters is nagging and full of complaints relating to his lack of money and poor living conditions - he constantly tries to assure Baud that he will strive to be a diligent and well-behaved student. His personality comes across as rather simple and child-like.
In his German language letters a totally different personality emerges. Here we see the cosmopolitan dandy and artist, intellectually and emotionally already mature, a man who consorts with the European aristocracy on almost equal terms. He never complains and appears to handle his money problems in a rational manner. He faces the world as a responsible individual, perfectly in control of his destiny.
Some examples are revealing here. After arriving in Paris in 1845, he promises Baud that he will behave well (at this time he was already a man in his thirties!) and stick to some basic guidelines. He writes: "..satoe perkara, saya mistie radjin, doea perkara, idoep jang patoet, soepaya bolih ada mampoe kennalan sama orang jang baik2 dan orang Asal2 ("... first principle, I have to be diligent, second principle, I have to behave according to my status in order to be able to meet good and high-ranking people"). Then he explains that Paris is very expensive and that he needs more money: "Darie itoe saya minta dengan soengoe2 Attie Padoeka bolih toeloeng, dan kasjian, jang soepaya saya poenya. Radja bolih djadie kasjian pada saja, Satoe perkara, saja minta barang f. 800, soepaja saja bolih belie apa jang saja beloem ada, dan djoega ada sadikit wang dalem tangan." ("Because of this I ask his Excellency with my whole heart to help me and to have mercy on me. The King should have mercy on me too and send me 800 Guilders. With this sum I could buy what I'm still lacking and have a little money in my hands").
In December of the same year he found a studio at No.31 Alleé des Veuves. Again he begs for money from the Dutch authorities in Holland. In a contemporary German-language letter to Ernst II, however, where he also asks for financial support, the tone is entirely different: he writes in his rather broken German: "Noch ist viel zu besorgen, viel Geld nöthig und die Alte wohnung zu verlassan. die Miethe der Neuen halbes jahr voraus zu bezahlen, und die letztere in einen wohnbaren stand zu setzen. unter 100. luis-dors werde ich damit nicht zu stande kommen. Da nun aber meine Appanage die ich alle 2 Monate bekommen, nur aber hinreicht zu dem gewöhnliche Ausgaben. So kann ich nicht aufeinmal davon diese außerordenliche Aufgabe zu opfern. Da Niemand kann ich in dieser Welt als Eu. Königliche Hoheit meine offenherzigkeit zu vertrauen schenken. Sie wurden mich daher sehr verbinden, wenn Sie mir diese 100 Luis-dors aufhier bei eine Bangier, anfang januar anweisen wolten. Die Zurückzahlung soll in folgender Art geschehen. Alle 2 monat 200 franc vom 1ten Juni künftigen Jahres an bis alles bezahlt ist." (“There is still a lot to get, a lot of money neccessary to leave the old flat. The rent for the new house has to be paid in advance for six months and the house needs renovation. This will take more than 100 Louis Dors. My stipendium which is transfered every second month is just big enough to guarantee my bare survival and there is no chance to finance these extraordinary expenses. Since I have nobody in this world but your Royal Highness I would be much obliged if you could send me those 100 Louis Dors to one of the bankers here by beginning of January. The repayment shall happen according to the following plan: I'll transfer every second month 200 Francs starting 1 June next year till the credit is payed up.”) No begging, no complaining here, but a perfectly rational and normal financial proposal.
Elsewhere in his letters to Baud, Saleh very often stresses his diligence: "Darie inie saja poenja keradjinan Toean bolih priksa die blakang kalie" ("I'm very diligent here and his Excellency can asure himself by investigating"). and "Toean brangkalie bolih priksa darie saya poenja keradjinan dan kalakoean, slama ada die sinie siang harie tida ada kapoetoesjan, tjoema kerdja sadja..." (His Excellency may start an investigation about my diligence and behaviour. Since I'm here I didn't have a break between morning and afternoon. All I do is work."). He even tries to excuse a passing love affair to his mentor Baud: "Dan lagie saya kasjih bertaoe pada Toen, jang doeloe kapan saja masih ada die Den (Haag) saja kennalan sama satoe parampoean en sekarang dia dateng die Dresden boeat katemoe sama saja dan saja rasja sendirie jang inie perkara pigie lain tanah die mana dapet kenalan sama orang jang Besjar dan baik baik tiada patoet idoep serta nama jang saja bawah atawa idoep sama parampoean, djadie tentoe nanti ilang saja poenja kahoermatan. Inie sedikit arie lagie inie parampoean mistie balik kambalie ka tanah Hollanda", ("And I also would like to report to his Excellency that I had a girlfriend while I was living in The Hague and that this woman arrived now in Dresden to meet me. But I feel that it is no good to come to a foreign place, meet honourable and aristocratic gentlemen and live with a woman that reminds me of former sins. I might lose my honour. Therefore I'll send this woman after a short while back to Holland.")
In general in his Malay-language letters Saleh is usually silent about his emotional situation. The above mentioned love affair is an exception. We know that he felt intensely lonely and very depressed when he arrived in Paris in 1845. The impersonal atmosphere of the great metropolis and lack of social contacts made it very difficult for Saleh. After his six years in Dresden and Coburg, he had gotten used to a certain social status. But it is only in his German language letters that he can admit his feelings openly. On May 8th 1845 he writes to Ernst: "...daß mir hier in dieser geräuschvollen Stadt, unter diesem bunten Gewühl und Treiben das Leben ziemlich einförmig dahin schleicht.." and: "Hier lebe ich fast immer für mich, denn ich habe noch wenig oder keine Bekanntschaften gemacht...", (" ... in this noisy town and among these colourful crowds and all the hustle and bustle my pace of life is rather monotonous" and "I live almost on my own since I have made only a few acquaintances.")
In a Malay-language letter to Baud written about two weeks earlier he hid his emotions writing in a detached fashion: "Nagrie Paris saoepama satoe Taman jang ada die tengah Doenja dan penoeh dengen segala boengah2 dan boewah boewahan jang amet haroem dan nikmat rasanja. jang satoe aken hindak menanemkan lebih darie jang lain; tetapie ini dalem Taman ada djoega oeler bellan jang aken mendjaga die mana djalan jang ketjil dan jang binkok", ("Paris is like a garden in the middle of the world which is full with flowers and nice and fragrant blossoms. One grows better than the other. But in this garden there are also poisonous snakes which hide where the streets get narrow and crooked.") No words here about loneliness or depression.
What is the reason for this very different attitude in these two sets of letters? Why does Raden Saleh show such differing sides of his personality? Could the relative position or his relationship to the addressees be responsible for his different manner? He counted both men to be among his closest friends. He regarded Baud almost as a father ("Sebap dalem inie doenya tiada lain jang menjadie saja poenja sobat dan Bapa malinken Padoeka sadja") and the Duke of Sachsen-Coburg and Gotha was, according to his letters, the only person in this world he believed in. So why the difference?
My view is, that language and the politics of language are the key here. Psycho-linguistic studies have shown that language both creates and defines attitudes and that bilinguals often undergo a shift in personality when they change language. This change in personality can be, on the one hand, simply a shift in attitude and behaviour corresponding to a shift in situation or context independent of language. On the other hand, the language itself, its structure and syntax and the social environment in which it was learned can have a deep influence on the speaker.
Raden Saleh grew up in Semarang in an elite and quasi aristocratic Javanese environment. His mother-tongue was Javanese, which he learned to read and write in Javanese script. Malay was probably spoken but not much appreciated in his surroundings. As a boy Saleh lived with the family of his uncle Kyai Adipati Sura Adi Menggala, the well known regent of Semarang, who himself was married to a daughter of Prang Wedana, Mangku Negara I of Surakarta. Sura Adi Menggala as well as his wife were experts in Javanese literature and certainly communicated in Javanese within their family. Saleh must have learned Malay more fluently at the first school for "natives" which existed in Cianjur between 1822 and (probably) 1826. Malay was introduced to him in the context of the strict discipline of that boarding school and as the language that inferiors had to use towards superiors, in this case the Dutch. For him the use of that language was from the very start not only a means of communication but a symbol of subordination, hierarchy and power. This pattern was strongly reinforced by the contemporary Dutch language policy.
During the 10 years he spent in Holland (1829-1839) it is certain that he learned Dutch very well. Very few of the people he had contact with spoke Malay and he had to speak Dutch when conversing with high officials and even the King. But his letters written to Baud from Dresden and Paris were not in Dutch but in Malay. Even the liberal Baud, who harboured very warm feelings towards Raden Saleh and the Javanese in general, expected this form of cultural submission.
When Saleh arrived in Germany in 1839 he tried to lead a new life. He wanted to be independent, sever his connections with The Hague and was even prepared to renounce the Dutch Government's financial support. But the authorities were not willing to let him go. In 1841 the Dutch ambassador in Vienna, who was asked to search for the lost son, located the painter in Dresden and demanded that he give an account of himself.
Dresden was a new experience for Saleh. Here in the cultural capital of Saxony, he was treated as an equal, becoming the friend of leading painters, art connoisseurs and aristocrats. He began to liberate himself from all the conventions which had restricted his emotional and artistic growth in Holland. He was moved by his friendly acceptance and struck by the "... intellectual intercourse and the friendly and supportive atmosphere which brings the people here together". After the turmoil of the Napoleonic Wars (1803-1815) the people were longing for some stability and the Orient and the Orientals were seen as symbols of a civilization blessed by a contentment with the present moment. Raden Saleh, the cultured Javanese prince, the perfect synthesis between the rational West and the sensual East, appeared to many people as the embodiment of their oriental dreams. With his highly developed Javanese sensitivity he very quickly adapted to the role this "Biedermeier theater society" cast him in. And he relished every moment of it. In a later letter he stated: "I came to Europe as a true Javanese and I returned to Java as a real German". That is as a German fantasy of a Javanese prince, as the late-romantic German idea about how an Oriental prince should look and act like.
The two aspects of his personality that spring out of his letters to Baud and Duke Ernst are the condensed expressions of two different experiences: one discriminatory and degrading, the other supportive and appreciative.
If we look at the structure and syntax of the Malay he used then we can surely understand that this type of language could not stimulate intellectual or spiritual development. This language restricted the mental agility of its speakers. It was not meant to spread knowledge or support personal growth. It was the language of submission and obsequiousness. Therefore I'm convinced, that by forcing the Javanese into using an inadequate language in their dealings with the modern world, the Dutch delibertly restricted the intellectual growth of their colonial subjects. They created, through their language policies, personalities, which they regarded as typical Javanese: child-like, stammering characters.
But not only did Raden Saleh and the Javanese suffer from the forced use of "Brabbel-Maleisch", the Dutch suffered as well. Since this rudimentary language was their main channel of communication with the "inlanders" they were unable to discover the rich and mature personalities hidden behind the stammering Javanese. Their picture of the "child-like natives" was to a large extent influenced and kept intact by their racist language policy.
Three Letters by Raden Saleh Three Letters by Raden Saleh
1. To Ernst II of Saxonia, Coburg and Gotha
(Paris 20. April 1847)
Königliche Hoheit, mein verehrtester Freund!
Wenn ich bis heute immer gezögert habe, mich an die Ausführung eines so sorgfältigen Bildes zu begeben, wie es die Anhänglichkeit und Dankbarkeit welche ich für Sie fühle, mir diktieren, so beruhigte mich immer der Gedanke, dass ich unterdessen einen höheren Grad der Vollkommenheit in der Kunst erreichen würde.
Da ich stehts auf Ihre gütige Nachsicht zählen darf und mich seither anhaltend mit der Malerei beschäftige, so fühle ich mich nun stark genug den Ihnen längst versprochenen Jagdgegenstand zu beginnen, und ich werde während der Arbeit mich stets im Geiste mit seinem einstigen gütigen besitzer unterhalten.
Nun aber fehlt mir eins, nämlich das Model eines guten Laufhundes, den ich nach dem Leben malen möchte. Ein solcher befindet sich im Besitz der königlichen Familie hier, und es würde eine nochmalige Bitte von Ihrer Seite an den hiesigen Hof gerichtet, mir sofort die Erlaubnis erwirken, solchen für Sie malen zu können. Es drängt mich Ihnen mein verehrter Freund nun eine vertrauliche Mitteilung zu machen.
In Paris lebte ich bis jetzt äußerst eingezogen, ganz ausschließlich der Kunst mich widmend, für welche ich geschafen zu sein glaube. Das Streben nach Vollkommenheit fesselte mich an meine Staflei, und da ich keine Mühe noch Kosten scheute die viele Schwierigkeiten der Kunst zu überwinden, so hatte ich die Freude und Genugthuung das Lob mich des Horace Vernat zu vernehmen welcher mit sehr freundlichen Worten seinen Beifall an meinem letzten Bilde aussprach, das nun auf dem Louvre ausgestellt ist.
Aber beständig vor meinem Bilde sitzend, und heimathliche gegenstände malen, Schlich sich unwillkürlich in mein Herz die Sehnsucht nach meinem schönen Vaterlande, wo die liebevollen Verwanten seit 15 Jahren meiner mit Sehnsucht harre, und diese Sehnsucht nach mir in Jedem ihrer Briefe aussprechen.
Meine ganze Seele ist nun umsomehr mit dem Bilde meines Heimathlandes erfüllt, da sich mit der wachsenden Künstlerkraft das Bedürfnis nach gründlichen Vorstudien für bedeutende Bilder welche ich malen möchte immer entscheidener sich ausspricht. Nur durch das treue Studium der menge wilder Thiere, der felsgruppen und gesträuche, der ewig rauchenden Berge, der Urwälder und Schlingpflanzen etc. können meine grösseren Leistungen das Gepräge der Wahrheit einer grossen Naturschönheit gewinnen, und diese schöne Natur ist mein Vaterland, wo ich liebende, langentbehrte Verwanten wiedersehen möchte!!!
Ich habe mich deshalb nach Holland gewendet, und sehe einer genehmignden Antwort entgegen.
Ehe ich mich aber einer so weiten Reise welche mich auf Ihrem von Europa trennen wird, anvertrauen werde, Kann ich den innigen Wunsche meines Herzens nicht widerstehen, Sie meinen verehrten Freund noch einmal zu sehen, und Sie mündlich um die Fortdauer einer Freundschaft zu bitten, welche mich so sehr glücklich gemacht hat.
Ich habe die Ehre Eu. Königlichen Hoheit mit freundschaftlicher Ergebenheit zu grüßen.
In Versicherung ich bib stehts Ihrer K. Hoheit aufrichtige und sehr dankbare Freund.
Raden Saleh Paris am 20. April 1847
Your Royal Highness, my most adored friend!
If I all the time until now hesitated, to set about to the execution of such a delicate painting, as affection and gratefulness which I feel towards You do demand, so the idea brought to me comfort, that in the meantime I would reach a higher degree of perfeciton in art.
As I always may count of Your indulgence and as I ever since steadily occupied myself with the art of painting, I now have the feeling to be strong enough to start with the hunting subject, I promised You a long time ago, and during the work I will all the time talk in my mind with his former benevolent owner.
But now I miss something, that is the model of a good running dog, which I wich to paint from nature. There is one of that kind in the possession of the royal family here, and another request from Your side, addressed to the court here, would immediately effect the permission for me, to paint it for You. I feel moved to communicate a confidential message to You, my most adored friend.
In Paris I lived until now extremely secluded, devoting myself exclusively to art, which I believe to be made for. My striving for perfection tied me to my easel, and since I did not mind any effort nor expenditure to overcome so many difficulties of art, I had the pleasure and satisfaction of listening to the praise of Horace Vernet, who expressed in very kind words his applaus about my latest painting, which is now shown in the Louvre.
But while sitting constantly in front of my painting, and painting native subjects, there involuntarily came sneaking into my heart the ardent desire for my beautiful motherland, where the most affectionate relatives would wait for me since 15 years, and would express their longing for me in every letter.
My entire soul is nowadays all the more inspired by the notion of my native country, as with increasing artistic strength the necessity for solid preliminairy studies for outstanding pictures, which I wish to paint will, articulates itself more and more decisively. Only through true studies of the wild beasts, of the clusters of rocks and bushes, of the constantly smoking mountains, of the jungle and the creepers etc. my major works can obtain the true impression of a great beauty of nature, and this nature is my motherland, where I wish to meet again my loving, long-missed relatives!!! I therefore applied to Holland, and I am looking forward to receiving a consent.
Before I would commit myself to such a long journey, which will separate me from - - Europe, I can not withstand the sincere wish of my heart, to meet You, my adored friend, once more, and to ask from You personally the continuation of a friendship, which made me feeling so happy.
I have the honour to greet Your Royal Highness with amicable devotion. I assure You, I always will remain Your Royal Highness sincere and very grateful friend.
Raden Saleh Paris, the 20th of April 1847
2. To J.C. Baud:
Bahoewa soerat inie jang dengan segala hoormat dan tjinta maka barang die sampeiken pada Padoeka Toean Minister darie Kolonien adanja.
Kemudian saja ada minta ampoen jang saja tidak lekas membales Padoeka ampoenja soerat jang itoe. Saja belang beriboe-riboe trima kassi darie Padoeka ampoen kassian dan koeasan itoe soerat Wissel, betoel itoe arie saja tida lebih darie 12 franc dalem saja poenja tangan. Sekarang inie saja rasa jang saja ada oentoeng aken kenalan sama Artiese2 yang akan menoeloeng sama saja seperti H. Scheffer, Ramau dan jang lain2 tetapie sajang darie inie waktoe banjak jang pergie die lain2 tempat, sebap die Paris malingken moesim dingin jang bolia enak kerdja dan koempoelan2 sama inie Artiese2 adanja.
Dari dia orang poenja maoe saja sekarang inie amper seharie2 bikin studie darie naak model, arganja jang soedah tentoe 6 franc dalem satoe harie 8 jam lamanja. Model darie parampoean 8 franc arganja. Sajang inie model samoea saja poenja sakoe terlaloe mahal, tetapie saja harep darie saja poenja karadjinan dalem sadikit boelan inie studie djadie bisa adanja saja harep jang lain taoun ganti roemah die pingir nagrie soepaja mendapet satoe Atelier jang baik dan sadikit moerah, baroe2 ini saja ada sakit (gal) 14 arie tida bolih kerdja, soekoer jang sekarang ada baik dan tida pake Doctor, sebap die Paris ada baik atawa sakit memang ada mahal.
Tambahan saja poenja Tabe dan Hoormat pada Nonja dan anaknja samoea.
Darie Padoeka poenja sobat jang aken mengeboer banjak triema kasie dan tjinta. Raden Saleh
Ada satu toekan gambar koeda jang bisja, dia kasie permisie jang saja bolih dateng joega kerdja koeda darie natuur diea poenja Atelier, dan inie Artiese dan jang lain2 samben arie Rebo soré dateng minoem Thee dan mengomoeng2 die Rumah saja, dan sekarang inie saja djadie mitgekid darie Societé orientale, sebap disitoe koempoelan orang jang baik2 dan bisa2 adanja.
That this letter with all honour and love will be conveyed to the Excellency Lord Minister of the Colonies
Next I apologize for not responding immediately to Your Excellency’s letter. I express a thousandfold thanks for receiving from Your Excellency’s sympathy and might that bill of exchange, indeed that day I had not more than 12 Franc left in my hands. Now I feel lucky for having friends among artists which are ready to support me, like H. Scheffer, Ramau and others, but unfortunately many are leaving now to go to other places, since in Paris (malingken) cold season, which (bolia) good to work and there are meetings with the artists.
I want to make studies now daily from a nude model, the price is at any rate 6 Franc a day, for 8 hours. The price of a female model is 8 Franc. Unfortunately now all the models are too expensive for my pocket, but I hope with assiduity I can finish the studies within this month, I hope next year I can move to (pingir nagrie) in order to find a pleasant and unexpensive studio, just recently I was sick (gall), during 14 days I could not work, I was lucky and have recovered already without consulting a physician, since in Paris whether fine or sick everything is expensive.
In addition I express my devotion and honour towards the Lady and all the children. Your Excellency’s friend expresses many thanks and love.
There is a draughtsman of horses (jang bisja), he allowed me to come to his studio and also to draw horses from nature, and this artist and others came on Wednesday afternoon to have tea and a chat in my house, and now I have become a member of the Societé oriental, since there would good and wealthy people meet.
3. To Ernst II of Saxonia, Coburg and Gotha
of the letter
Raden Saleh and The Indonesian Art Boom
In 1996 the Indonesian art scene was shocked by the appearance of a stolen Raden Saleh in Christie's Singapore auction catalogue from October 1996. This was one of the "side effects" of the record-breaking sale of Raden Saleh's "Deer Hunt" in previous March. Since the first sales of Indonesian art, both in the Netherlands and in Singapore, Raden Saleh's paintings were always considered to be significant in one way or another. In early 1998, the previously stolen Raden Saleh greeted visitors to an exhibition of the collection of the Department of Education and Culture.
Over and over again, the works of Raden Saleh served as landmarks in the development of the appreciation for Indonesian art throughout the Indonesian art boom of 1987-1997. In this article, I wish to convey, in a narrative manner, the ways in which Raden Saleh's paintings have indeed signified that development.
On a bright Sunday morning in early September 1996, I visited a sculpture exhibition at the Department of Education's Exhibition Hall at Gambir, Central Jakarta. As I was about to leave, a staff member handed me some of the Department's old catalogues that were about to be thrown away.
One of the catalogues was about a 1988 exhibition held in preparation of Indonesia's long-awaited Wisma Seni Nasional (National Art Gallery). A page of this catalogue had been torn out, and so, when taking the book in hand, it always would open right at the page next to the torn one. And the torn page just happened to show the biographical datas of Raden Saleh, and the book always opened to a portrait of a Dutch official, done by the painter, which is now owned by the Department of Education and Culture.
By sheer coincidence, the next day, the Christie's catalogue for their October 1996 sale of Indonesian paintings arrived in my office mail. Immediately, I took a quick glance at the paintings included in the sale. However, it was not until the next day that I realized that the Raden Saleh painting offered by Christie's was exactly the same painting, which appeared in the 1988 catalogue of the National Art Gallery.
That Tuesday, I had scheduled to take my guests from a Japanese museum to meet with Sudarmadji Damais, the Director of the Jakarta History Museum. I took the occasion to show the piece to him. He recognized the painting, as the pair of the couple depicted in the portrait was in the collection of his museum.
Later that day, a staff member of the Department of Education and Culture also came to the Jakarta History Museum to conduct a research. The Department had received a report from the Estate of Basoeki Abdullah that one of the painter's works which was supposed to be in the custody of the National Museum had appeared in the Christie's catalogue as well. It became clear that some paintings had been stolen from the National Museum.
The incident received a strong response from the press after the story was leaked by art writer Agus Dermawan T. An article about the theft appeared on Thursday on the front page of the daily Kompas. Agus knew about the appearance of the Basoeki Abdullah in the Christie's sale from the Estate of the painter, but initially did not know about the theft of the other paintings. However, a Jakarta Post reporter who was tipped about the affair and eager to obtain confirmation from anyone who knew more about the matter, called Agus and asked him about the painting of Raden Saleh. The reporter's question thus tipped the writer about the theft of the painter's Dutch Official Wearing the Willem's Order. Agus had an even better story about the scandal to present to the press.
The Minister of Education and Culture and his staff immediately tried their best in getting back the stolen pieces. The Director of the National Museum, who is also an official under the Department, was dispatched to Singapore the following week to retrieve the paintings. Christie's assisted as best as they could. It was Christie's policy not to disclose the name of the vendor of the paintings, but the auction house tried their best in persuading the vendor to hand the paintings back to the Department of Education and Culture. Christie's handled the negotiations between the Department and the vendor's lawyer. The talks resulted in the vendor's agreeing to return the paintings, on the condition that the Department dropped any charges against him. The vendor of course claimed that he was unaware of the fact that the paintings he tried to sell through Christie's were stolen merchandise.
In Jakarta both the Department of Education and Culture and Christie's separately held press conferences announcing the return of the two paintings. For the most part, the press deemed that Christie's should be accountable for the incident. Many thought that Christie's experts should have known that the paintings were owned by the Department of Education and Culture. Some even thought that Christie's attempted to sell the piece even though they may have suspected the pieces had questionable provenances. However, others also realized that if the pieces were not sold through a public auction, the Department of Education and Culture and the general public would not have learned about the theft at the National Museum as early as they had, and might not have never seen the paintings again. "Thanks to Christie's, we know that these paintings had been stolen! If they did not appear in the Christie's catalogue, we might not know where they would have ended up," exclaimed Sudarmadji Damais, Director of the Jakarta History Museum.
As it turned out, however, there were not two but five paintings from the National Museum that were going to be offered in the Christie's sale. More surprisingly, it was later learned, that there were not five but rather twenty-five paintings
(black & white)
The stolen Painting
that were stolen from the National Museum in Jakarta. The Department eventually managed to get back all of the stolen paintings. The mastermind of the theft was never caught, but in mid-May 1997 the two National Museum's staff members who were involved in the crime were tried, and if found guilty could be sentenced up to seven years in prison.
Who is actually to blame for the theft of the paintings from the National Museum is perhaps irrelevant at this point. To know and understand what had caused the theft of the paintings to occur seems to be more useful than to point fingers at each other.
One of the most interesting facts related to the theft in the National Museum is that the works of the nineteenth century Indonesian painter Raden Saleh is closely related to the developments of the Indonesian art market and appreciation. On one hand, Raden Saleh's paintings that have appeared on the market can be used to gauge the condition of the market's strength. On the other hand, the development in the Indonesian art market has heightened public awareness about the significance of Raden Saleh's works.
To fully comprehend why the theft of the paintings from Jakarta's National Art Gallery occurred, the incident should be seen within the context of the Indonesian art boom. Many observers agree that Indonesian art experienced a boom for about a decade starting at the end of 1987 and ending at the end of 1997.
Alongside the liberalization in the field of banking around 1987-88, the Indonesian fine arts scene became tremendously festive. A number of new galleries started to open in Jakarta at that particular period of time, but the center of Indonesian art at this time was Bali. At the suggestion of the painter Rudolf Bonnet in the 1970s Suteja Neka, a former schoolteacher, established his Museum Neka in 1985. This museum, which represented a rather comprehensive view about the development of Indonesian fine arts, had become the most prominent museum of art on that island, if not in the whole country.
Therefore, the Balinese galleries, especially the Neka Gallery and Agung Rai Gallery, developed rapidly. A number of Indonesian businessmen, gaining huge profits from growing business related to the liberalization of banking, started to collect paintings. They visited the Balinese galleries hunting for the best works of art. It is said that in 1988 a businessman connected to Indonesia's first family bought eight paintings from a gallery in Bali for a total of Rp 1,2 billion (US$ 800.000?). The Indonesian art boom had definitely been entered upon.
In 1989 a Dutch auctioneer, Jan Pieter Glerum noticed that there was a considerable interest in art about Indonesia, and decided to enter this market. As early as 1990, the auction house offered a work by Raden Saleh entitled The Eruption of Mount Merapi, which was sold for a price of NF 25.000.
The development of the market of paintings of Indonesian subject was finally discovered by Christie's, which started to hold auction of Indonesian paintings in 1992. Sotheby's later followed Christie's footsteps and also entered the Southeast Asian art market.
The financially stronger Christie's started to hold their sales in Singapore in 1994, as the auction house saw a strong market development in the region. Christie's business estimations and timing turned out to be correct. Raden Saleh's "The Eruption of Mount Merapi", previously sold at the Glerum auction in 1990, appeared in this debut sale in Southeast Asia and was sold at a price of S$ 280.000. This meant that the value of the painting had increased over twelve times in the course of approximately four years.
Due to the success that year, the next year Christie's held two auctions, increasing their sales until over threefold compared to the auctions in the previous year. In Christie's March 1995 auction held in Singapore a rather bland Raden Saleh landscape was offered. This painting sold for S$ 550.000. At each auction for the first three sales in Singapore, the Raden Salehs that were offered for sale set the record price for the artist. Considering each painting being equal, in five years the price of Raden Salehs had increased more than twenty times.
It was at Christie's Singapore auction in March 1996 that the sale of Raden Saleh's works reached its peak. The nineteenth century painter's large "Deer Hunt" was sold at an astonishing hammer price of S$ 2,8 million. The achievement of this price was a record for Southeast Asian paintings, and the successful sale indicated the peak of the Indonesian art boom. Due to this remarkable sale, which also made front page in the country's leading daily Kompas, the general public in Indonesia suddenly became aware of the value of paintings. The importance of Raden Saleh as a painter could also be more easily appreciated because there was a tangible monetary value that could be attached to the painter's works.
However, it seems that the achievement of this record price also led to certain negative developments. Following the sale crimes in the field of art indicated a marked increase. Raden Saleh's "Dutch Officer Wearing the Willem's Order", which was stolen from the National Museum, appeared in the Christie's catalogueue of their October sale of Indonesian painting that year. It can be assumed that the theft occurred not long after the sale of "Deer Hunt".
Due to matters of bureaucracy among other institutional burdens, the Department of Education and Culture and the National Museum unfortunately had not been responsive enough to the Indonesian art boom. As a result, they failed to take a strategic position in becoming the foremost institution in the field of fine arts. So, instead of creating an art museum or even interpretive exhibitions of Indonesian art with their vast collection, they left their collections neglected in storage.
Tempted by huge profits that can be gained from the sale of the master's works at such high prices, the mastermind of the theft persuaded some employees of the Museum to hand over some works of the collections, which had been neglected in storage for almost a decade, for a fee.
The amount of the fee that the employees got for obtaining the pieces could be predicted using Christie's estimates for the paintings. The Basoeki Abdullah painting was estimated at S$ 8.000 to S$ 12.000, or Rp. 13.6 million to Rp. 20.4 million. Considering the strong market at the time, we can assume that the work was expected to sell at Rp. 20 million. Discounting commissions and expenses, the vendor would have gotten a net revenue of around Rp. 12 million. So we can predict that the mastermind would have given the Museum employees a maximum price of one fifth of the net revenue expected, or Rp. 2.4 million, for the piece.
The Raden Saleh was estimated at S$ 100,000 - 170,000, or Rp. 170 million to Rp. 255 million. We might be able to expect this damaged piece to sell for a little underf the lower estimate. Minus commissions and expenses, the net revenue that could be expected from this work was Rp. 80 million. For this particular piece, the mastermind would have given a maximum of Rp. 10 million.
However, it is almost certain that the mastermind of the theft got the twenty-five paintings as a lot. As the lot would consist of paintings of different qualities, sizes, and conditions, let us way that the entire lot of 25 paintings would have been obtained for a fee of under Rp. 30 million. In the meantime, we can assume that the theft was a work of conspiracy between two employees familiar with the Museum storage and a security guard, whose salaries are each around Rp.300.000 including benefits. If this is correct, then the fee of Rp. 10 million per person for the job would have been considered substantial, as it was likely to be more than thirty times each of their monthly salaries.
In the May 1997 trials on the theft, the dailies Media Indonesia and Jayakarta reported that the two staff members of the National Museum had initially (in March or April 1996) sold three paintings by Affandi for Rp. 6 million, following the mastermind's offer of Rp. 3 million for each painting. In April, they offered Raden Saleh's "Dutch Officer Wearing the Willem's Order" to the mastermind for Rp. 5 million. The staff member of the museum sold twelve more for a sum of Rp. 9 million. It was determined that the two National Museum staff members had assisted in the theft of seventeen paintings from the National Museum and eight from other proprietors kept in the Museum between March and September 1996.
Considering that the paintings were neglected anyway, the employees involved in the theft seemed to have thought that what the mastermind asked them to do could not be deemed too serious of a crime. Therefore, they took out the paintings and handed them over to the mastermind. They figured, what they did, would make everybody happy: they themselves got a considerable amount of money for a relatively easy job, the mastermind got the paintings he wanted, and the Museum was set free from the burden of having to take care for the pieces.
The other negative development following the sale of "Deer Hunt" is an even greater appearance of fake paintings in the market. It seems that following the record-breaking sale, more and more people started to realize the high prices of paintings. Along with an increasing number of new collectors, a rise in the number of works saturating the market is also evident. Among the great number of paintings being offered in the market, there are many fakes.
In the auctions of Southeast Asian art in Singapore emerged some rather questionable pieces attributed to Raden Saleh. Although further research needs to be done on the authenticity of those pieces, it can not be denied that many scholars and observers of Raden Saleh's work doubt the attribution of the works to the nineteenth century Indonesian master. Some of the pieces are done with considerable mastery of nineteenth century art, and it is highly probable that Raden Saleh forgeries have originated from Holland or some other European countries.
It seems that the prices of Raden Saleh's paintings have made it worthwhile for some European master forgers to produce fakes of his works. Speaking generally about the existence of fakes in art about Indonesia, pioneering auctioneer Jan Pieter Glerum observed that it seems that the most convincing forgeries of pre-War paintings about Indonesia were done in Europe, and particularly Holland, while the most convincing post-War Indonesian fakes were done in Indonesia. If this were indeed the case, then it would be safe to assume that the best forgeries of the work of Raden Saleh were done in Europe. This only means that scholars and students of Raden Saleh need to take extra precautions in studying the works of the master, since the art of forgery in Europe is quite developed.
The high prices that the works of Raden Saleh have managed to fetch in the auctions of Indonesian and Southeast Asian art in Singapore, have sparked an increase in the number of art crimes in Indonesia, including art theft and art forgeries.
On the other hand, the record-breaking sale of "Deer Hunt" and the theft of "Dutch Official Wearing the Willem's Order" from the National Museum have also contributed to a heightened awareness of the significance of Raden Saleh's works, both among art collectors as well as the general public.
The awareness about the increasing monetary value of the paintings by the nineteenth century Indonesian master lured collectors who already had the painter's works in their possession to sell. Meanwhile, the auction houses were very much aware that collectors who did not yet have a Raden Saleh were eager to buy.
In the auctions of Southeast Asian art in March 1997, Christie's and Sotheby's offered a total of four Raden Saleh paintings. Among the works that were sold, Christie's sold "Lions Fighting a Snake Outside a Grotto in a Tropical Landscape" for S$ 1.8 million, while Sotheby's sold "Lions and Tigers Fight over a Dead Horse" for S$ 700,000.
The theft at the National Museum seems to have also served as a reminder for the urgent need for the creation of the National Art Gallery, which had been discussed since the 1950s. In February 1998, marking the eleventh anniversary of their Exhibition Hall in Gambir, Central Jakarta, the Department of Education and Culture presented a huge exhibition of their vast collection. Placed right in front of the entrance, to greet the visitors was the once stolen Raden Saleh "Dutch Official Wearing the Willem's Order". Another Raden Saleh, "Ship Wreck", was also exhibited in this show. Yet again, Raden Saleh's paintings play an important role in the development of Indonesian art appreciation.
In a seminar held in conjunction with this exhibition, art critic and curator Jim Supangkat revealed the Department of Education and Culture's plans to establish the National Art Gallery. Finally, the Department decides to take a bold step to act as the leader in the knowledge of Indonesian fine arts.
Many significant events and incidences have occurred throughout the boom of Indonesian art of 1987-1998, and the paintings of Raden Saleh highlighted the most important cases. Along with the monetary crisis that the Indonesian economy is facing today, the boom has also seemed to end.
During the rapid pace of development during the boom, there seemed to have been little if any time dedicated toward proper research, analysis and interpretation of Indonesian art in general. While the collectors competed to get the most sought after paintings, Raden Saleh being on the top of the list, the general public also became interested in works of Raden Saleh as they were intrigued with the prices they were fetching at the auctions.
Today, the boom can be considered to be already over, following the crash of the Indonesian economy due to the sudden rise of the dollar against the rupiah. While Indonesian collectors may continue their pursuit of Raden Saleh's works, it is almost sure that we can no longer expect Raden Saleh's paintings to fetch the high prices they did in the past. The Raden Saleh record price is unlikely to broken again in the next decade or so.
Fortunately, the boom did manage to attract the pursuit of broader and deeper knowledge in the field of Indonesian fine art. Furthermore, the legacy of Raden Saleh has proven impressive, and hence there remains a strong enthusiasm among the general public toward the important figure in the development of Indonesian art. As the boom is indeed over, it is certain that Raden Saleh and his works will be among the foremost subjects of research in the field of Indonesian art. After all, Raden Saleh is considered as the first Indonesian painter, hence "The Father of Indonesian Painting".
Although many students of Indonesian art may already know the painter's life story, proper research regarding the figure is still relatively limited. An interpretive exhibition about Raden Saleh will most certainly be welcome.
Art Theft in Jakarta
According to News from “Jakarta Post”
arranged by Peter Sternagel
Once more a painting by Raden Saleh was to be offered at an auction by Christie’s in Singapore on October 6, 1996. This work was, however, stolen together with other paintings shortly before from the National Museum in Jakarta. Up to now not all the details of the art theft are known to us. We therefore refer only to the news published by the “Jakarta Post” between September 20 and October 7, 1996 which are nevertheless worth reading.
Friday, September 20
First news about an art theft in Jakarta. A number of valuable paintings by world-reknowned Indonesian masters have been stolen from the National Museum. Among the works were also one by the legendary master Raden Saleh. The theft is said to have taken place many weeks ago.
Saturday, September 21
On the front page follows the news, that two paintings which were allegedly stolen from the National Museum in Jakarta have been withdrawn by Christie’s from its auction on October 6. One, with the lot number 363 entitled “Portrait of a Dutch Governor Wearing the Willams Order” being a work of Raden
Saleh completed in 1867 would be offered at an opening price between S$ 100.000 and 150.000.
Sunday, September 22
The front-page shows two large reproductions in colour of the stolen paintings of Raden Saleh and Basoeki Abdullah. The independent art curator Jim Supangkat said in an interview that government and police were expected to make an immediate request to the Singaporean authorities in order to get the paintings back. It is mentioned, that there were at least six valuable paintings stolen from the National Museum in Jakarta.
Thuesday, September 24
News about the art theft still occupy the front page. The day before the Minister of Education and Culture Wardiman Djojonegoro had confirmed the theft of a number of valuable paintings from the National Museum. Police records show that the theft was only recorded on September 12, hidden from the public by the museum, however, until art curators were amazed to find thet wo paintings in Christie’s catalogue. Employees of the museum were said of being involved in the theft.
The editorial of the same issue reflects the art theft and there is also an article by Amir Sidharta which deals profoundly with all the aspects of the case.
Wednesday, September 25
Again on the front-page: The secretary to Irene Lee, general manager of Christie’s Singapore, is quoted as telling the newspaper, that no officials from Indonesia or Singapore had contacted the auction house about the two Indonesian paintings.
Friday, September 27
The heading front-page story reports about the return of the five (sic) paintings allegedly stolen. The day before Chriestie’s managing director had told a press conference, the the seller of the paintings had assured them of his intention to “donate” the works to Indonesia. The seller was described as a Singaporean citizen who also does business in Indonesia.
Saturday, September 28
According to Minister Wardiman six of the 12 paintings were discovered missing on September 6, the others just this week. He continued, Indonesia will not sue the Singaporean collector. His lawyer had said that his client had no idea the paintings he bought were those stolen form the Jakarta museum. A reliable source said that the Singaporean were the third person to own the paintings after they were allegedly stolen.
The five paintings (including that of Raden Saleh) were flown back to Jakarta last Thursday.
Saturday, October 5
After a week without any news about the art theft, this issue reveils further details on its front-page: A Singaporean art collector who recently handed over five stolen paintings to Jakarta is now wanted by the Indonesian police for allegedly selling at least 25 paintings stolen form the National Museum. The suspect who is accused of purchasing a number of paintings directly from four employees of the museum is said to work as an executive of a large business group in Jakarta. 22 of the 25 stolen paintings were already in the possession of the police, among others works by Utrillo, Cézanne, Leger, Picasso, Renoir and the Indonesian masters Basoeki Abdullah and Affandi.
Monday, Oktober 7
The newspapers states that there were still some questions in connection with the art theft which remain unanswered. Among the substantial questions are those pertaining to how the works of art were stolen and why Christie’s failed to look into the origin of the five valuable Indonesian paintings listed for it’s auction. Four of the suspected thieves are said to have admitted they stole the paintings on different occasions between March and June. They had sold the 25 works of art for Rp 21.5 million (approximately US $ 9.000,-) directly to the Singaporean fence.
Since then we could not identify any further news about the art theft in the “Jakarta Post” in 1996.
The Authors of this Issue
Studies of Art History in Berlin and Cologne, Aesthetics and Painting Technique at Hochschule für Bildende Künste, Hamburg. Education and employment at mueseums in Berlin and Darmstadt as a restorer of paintings, sculptures and preservation of monument. Directed a studio of conservation and restoration for twenty three years with a team of employees and trainees. Full member of the German Restorer's Association (Deutscher Restauratorenverband DRV)
Werner Kraus, Dr. phil.
Studied Southeast-Asian Studies at Heidelberg University and Cornell University, Ithaca/New York, 1984 until 1991 Assistant Lecturer at University of Passau, Department of Southeast-Asian Studies. Now freelance writer and researcher, main topics> Islam in Southeast-Asia and Art in Indonesia
Harsja W. Bachtiar
Former Director of Higher Education, Department of Education and Culture, R.I. Cultural Attaché at the Embassy of the R.I. in Den Haag. (To be completed by Mr. Saini or one of his Indonesian colleagues)
Preview of the next Issue
Pierre Labrousse/Claude Guillot
Harsja W. Bachtiar
*) Reprint from "Majalah Ilmu-Ilmu Sastra Indonesia" - Indonesian Journal of Cultural Studies VI/3, August 1976, with courtesy by the family of the late H.W. Bachtiar
1 Allgemeen Dagblad von Nederlandsch-Indie, 24 April 1880.
2 Allgemeen Dagblad von Nederlandsch-Indie, 27 April 1880.
 Java Bode, 28 April 1880.
 See especially Soekanto, Dua Raden Saleh : dua nasionalis dalam abad ke-19 (Two Raden Saleh : two natinalistis in the 19th century) (Jakarta : Poesaka Aseli, 1951) and Baharudin Marasutan, Raden Saleh 1807-1880 : Perintis seni lukis di Indonesia (Raden Saleh 1807-1880 : Painting pioner in Indonesia) (Jakarta : Dewan Kesenian Jakarta, 1973). In a study of 11 pages, Soekante concluded that although the painter had been abroad for about a quarter of a century, and had become Western oriented, he did not forget his own nation; that, coming from a revolutionary family which was related to Pangeran (Prince) Diponegoro, he loved and respected the Prince, one who fought for independence; that in short, he was a nationalist, a famous painter, a prominent figure in Indonesian national history. These conclusions were also adopted by Baharudin Marasutan.
 Soekanto disputed the date with reference to a letter, signed by Saleh’s mother, to the Resident of Semarang, dated August 22, 1843 : see Soekanto, op.cit. pp. 12-14. She mentioned in her letter that her son was given in trust to the painter Paijen in 1817. If Saleh was indeed born in 1814, so Soekanto argued, he would have been three years of age which could not be possible. Soekanto thinks that Saleh was born in 1807. The present author tends to think that Saleh’s mother was wrong in her date, although he can accept an argument which leans to a slightly earlier date, perhaps 1812, which would not be unusual. Official correspondence and Saleh’s own pronouncements make 1814 more acceptable as his year of birth than 1807.
 In Saleh’s mother’s letter (see note 5), the mother’s name is spelled Mas Adjeng Zarip Hoeseen. A genealogical chart of Raden Saleh’s family which appears in Baharudin Marasutan, op. cit., p. 8, the mother’s name appears as Raden Ayu Sarif Husen Bin Alwi Bin Awal.
 See letter by R. Saleh Ario Notodiningrat to J.C. Baud, dated Salatiga, June 2, 1834, reproduced in Baharudin Marasutan, op.cit., p. 26.
 See Almanak van Nederlandsch-Indie 1822 (Batavia : ‘s Landsdrukkerij, 1822); no paging.
 See Saleh’s mother’s letter referred to under No. 5.
 See Nederland’s Adelsboek, vol. XI (‘s Gravenshage : W.P. van Stockum & Zoon, 1913), p. 25 and p. 26. The author wishes to record his gratitude to Mr. Th. Stevens, Historisch Seminarium, Universiteit van Amsterdam, for providing the outhor with bibliographical information pertaining to Jhr. R.L.J. van der Capellen.
 Report about the Residency of the Preanger Regencies by Resident Jhr. R.L.J. van der Capellen to Governor General G.A.G.P. Baron van der Capellen, dated Tjianjor, March 13, 1822. Item No. 31 in Collection J.C. Baud No. 90, Rijksarchief, The Hague. The author wishes to record his gratitude to Mr. M.G.H.A. de Graaf, Rijksarchief, for having kindely and effectively helped him in his search for information in the Dutch State Archives.
 See P.C. Molhuysen & P.J. Blok, eds., Nieuw Nederlandsch Biografisch Woordenboek, Vol. I (Leiden : A.W. Sijthoff, 1911), pp. 570-578 ; A.J. van der Aa, ed., Biographisch Woordenboek der Nederlanden, Nieuwe uitgaaf. Vol III (Haarlem : J.J. van Brederode,n.d.), pp. 157-169 ; and L.E. Bosch, Levensschets van G.A.G.P. Baron van der Capellen van Berkenwoude (Utrecht : L.E. Bosch en Zoon, 1849).
 See’Raden Saleh Sarif Bastaman,’Tijdschrift van Nederlandsch-Indie, VIII i (1846), p. 277.
 Bataviaasch Courant, 1825, No. 35.
 J.B. de Linge had 4 children, the fourth Hortensia Louse Charlotte born an January 10, 1828.
 Resolutien, December 23, 1829, H. 69.
 Almanak van Nederlansch-Indie 1829 (Batavia : ‘s Landsdrukkerij, 1829), p. 101.
 See J. de Loos-Haaxman, ‘Raden Saleh in Den Haag’, Die Haghe Jaarboek 1965 (‘s-Gravenhage : Vereniging ‘Die Haghe,’ 1965), p. 64.
 Ibid., p. 64.
 See P.C. Molhuysen & P.J. Blok, eds., Nieuw Nederlandsch Biografisch Woordenboek, Vol I (Leiden : A.W. Sijthoff, 1911), pp. 244-252.
 See J. de Loos-Haaxman, op. cit., p. 65.
 Ibid., p. 68.
 Ibid., p. 69.
 See F. Smit Kleine, “Hertog Ernst II van Saxen-Coburg-Gotha,” in E.D. Pijzel, ed., Mannen van Beteekenis in Onze Dagen. Vol XXIV (Haarlem : H.D. Tjeenk Willink, 1894), pp. 279-312. The memoirs of the Grand Duke were published under the title Aus meinem Leben und aus meiner Zeit, 3 vols. (Berlin : Wilhelm Hertz, 1887-1889).
 A genealogical chart of the House of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha appears in Grote Winkler Prins, Vol. XVI (Amsterdam, Brussel : Elsevier, 1973), p. 765.
 J. de Loos-Haxman, Verlaat Rapport Indie : Drie eeuwen Westerse schilders, teknaars, grafici, zilversmeden en kunstnijveren in Nederlandsch-Indie (‘s-Gravenhage “ Mouton & Co., 1968), p. 57. The author is much indebted to Dr. Roelof Roolvink who has generously given a copy of the book to him.
 William Barrington d’Almeida, Life in Java, Vol. II (London, 1864), p. 288.
 Letter by Raden Saleh to the Grand Duke of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, dated The Hague, December 25, 1844. The present author would llike to acknowledge his deep gratitude to Dr. Ulrich Kratz, who at the request of the author has arranged for having mircorfilms made of Raden -Saleh's letters which are kept in the collection of the Herzoglichen Haus- and Staatsarchiv Coburg. The author has deposited the microfilm with the Arsip Nasional Republik Indonesia.
 Letter by Raden Saleh to the Grand Duke of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, dated Paris, February 4, 1845.
 Regeerings almanak van Nederlandsch-Indie 1880 (Batavia : ‘s Landsdrukerij, 1880), p. 797.
 Letter by Raden Saleh to the Grand Duke of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, op. cit.
 Letter by Raden Saleh to the Grand Duke of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, dated Paris, March 6, 1845.
 Letter by Raden Saleh to the Grand Duke of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, dated Paris, May 8, 1845.
 See ‘Raden Saleh Sarif Bastaman,’ Tijdschrift van Nederlandsch-Indie, VIII i (1846), p. 276.
 Dated Paris, July 1, 1845.
 Letter by Raden Saleh to the Grand Duke of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, dated July 1, 1845.
 Letter by Raden Saleh to the Grand Duke of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, dated Paris, February 5, 1848.
 Saleh’s presence in Paris during the revolution was used by Soekanto, who based his knowledge on a very short statement (‘In ‘48 getuige van den Februari omwenteling’) which appears in the Encyclopedie van Nederlandsch/Indie, Vol. III (‘s-Gravenhage : Martinus Nijhoff-E.J. Brill, 1905), p. 355, as one of his principle arguments in his claim that Saleh had revolutionary inclinations.
 Letter by Raden Saleh to the Grand Duke of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, dated Dresden, January 3, 1848.
 Letter by Raden Saleh to the Grand Duke of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, dated Dresden, February 5, 1848.
 Charles Walter, Kinloch, Rambles in: Java and the Straits in 1852, Singapore: Oxford University Press, Reprint 1987, p.88.
 Therese von Lützow, Letter to Hauptmann von Zöller. 25. February 1850. Staatsbibliothek Berlin, Nachlaß von Lützow, Kasten 2, Nr.18. In this letter von Lützow actually talks about Raden Saleh. The original quote reads as follows: “Alle Malayen, welche sich europäisieren, sind untauglich für Java und werden ihrer freigeisterischen Ideen wegen ferngehalten. Deswegen ist auch Raden Saleh das Reich verschlossen, denn der denkende Mensch ist ein Gegenstand des Schreckens für den Holländer, der blinden Gehorsam fordert.”
 Carey,Peter, "The British in Java, 1811-1816: A Javanese Account", in: J. van Goor (ed.), Trading Companies in Asia. 1600-1830, Utrecht: HES Uitgevers, 1986, p.148.
 E. Netscher thought that John Crawfurd and Dr. Leyden were responsible for the general disregard of the Malay language in the Indies throughout the first half of the 19th century: "Beiden hebben de Maleisch taal in minachting gebragt door haar veel minder oorspronkelijkheid toe te kennen dan zij inderdaad bezit; door haar als arm voorte stellen, terwijl die armoede alleen bestaat aan de zijde der Europeanen, die haar beoefenen en die veelal er niet van bewust zijn, dat de beste Maleische woordenboeken welligt niet het derde gedeelte bevatten van de woorden, die den Maleijer ten dienste staan ...". Netscher, E,. "De Twaalf Spreukgedichten", Tijdschrift voor Indische Taal-, Land- en Volkenkunde, Vol. 2 (1854), p.11.
 Heinrich von Gagern, Das Leben des Generals Friedrich von Gagern. Leipzig und Heidelberg: Winter'sche Verlagsbuchhandlung, 1857, Vol. 2, p.525. "A. Schleiermachers in Darmstadt Malaische Grammatik, ..., macht mir viel Freude. Die von Roorda van Eisinga, ..., ist mehr für die Officiere berechnet, welche sich auf den Umgang mit ihren Javanischen Jungen und Haushälterinnen vorbereiten müssen." The above mentioned grammar is found in: Schleiermacher, A. A. E., De l'influence de l'ecriture sur le langage. Mémoire qui, en 1828, a partagé le prix fondé par le Comte de Volney, suivi de grammaires Barmane et Malai, et d'un apercu de l'alphabet harmonique pour le langues asiatiques, quel l'Institut Royal de France a couronné en 1827. Darmstadt: Jonghaus (Heyer), 1835.
 Raden Ajeng Kartini, Letters of a Javanese Princess. New York, 1964, p. 61.
 Bijblad op het Staatsblad van Nederlandsch-Indie. Batavia: Landsdrukkerij, 1907, No. 6496, pp. 265-66.
 Hoffman,John, "A Foreign Investment: Indies Malay to 1901", INDONESIA, No. 27 (1979), pp. 65-92.
 "Half uit instinkt, half naar een stelsel, hebben Nederlanders de beoefening hunner taal, zelfs door aanzienlijke inlanders, vroeger altijd meer tegengewerkt dan aangemoedigd. De opvatting, dat het den Javaan niet past tot een Hollander, en vooral tot een Hollandschen ambtenaar, Hollandsch te spreken, zal echter ongetwijfeld langsamerhand voor een betere plaats maken." Tweede Druk, Vierde Deel, Haarlem: De Erven F. Bohn, 1912. p. 31.
 Money, J. W. S., Java or how to manage a colony. Two volumes. London 1861. Vol. I, pp. 203-204.
 Raden Saleh's birthdate is not clear. Usually the year 1814 is given but this might be too late. For a discussion of his birthday see: Soekanto, Dua Raden Saleh, Jakarta: Poesaka Aseli, 1951, p.12. A portrait of Raden Saleh, drawn by Carl Christian Vogel von Vogelstein in 1839 (Kupferstichkabinett Dresden, Inv. Nr. C 3314), is signed by Raden Saleh himself as follows: "Raden Saleh geboren op Semarang Java in maand juli 1811". This is the only document I know of in which Raden Saleh gives information on his birthdate. For this reason I list 1811 as his year of birth.
 Surtees, Virginia, Charlotte Canning. Lady-in-Waiting to Queen Victoria and Wife of the first Viceroy of India, 1817-1861. London: John Murray, 1979, p. 158. In the same account she compares Raden Saleh, whom she met in Coburg in 1845, with a tame domesticated monkey and adds: "Ld. Aberdeen was so taken aback the first day to see this black in his Turkish dress instead of handing us coffee, quietly take some to drink himself".
 Presently the best account of Raden Saleh's life is: Harsja W. Bachtiar, "Raden Saleh: Aristocrat, Painter, and Scientist", Majalah Ilmu-Ilmu Sastra Indonesia, Vol. VI, No. 3 (197), pp.31-79.
 Sternau, C.O., Kaleidoscop von Dresden, Magdeburg: Verlag A. Inkermann, 1843, p.37.
 On Saleh's time in The Hague see: J. de Loos-Haaxmann, "Raden Saleh in Den Haag", Die Haghe Jaarboek 1965, s'Gravenhage: Vereniging "Die Haghe", 1965.
 For Raden Salehs time in Germany see: Werner Kraus, “Raden Saleh. Ein indonesischer Maler in Deutschland”, Orientierungen1 (1996), pp. 29-62. For his time in France see the forthcoming article by Pierre Labrousse in Archipel, autum 1997.
 Paris, 1 February 1845; ARA, Arch. Kol., Verbaalen, 8. 12. 1845.
 Letter to J.C.Baud, Paris, 1 February 1845; ARA, Arch. Kol., Verbaalen, 8. 12. 1845.
 Letter to Ernst II, Duke of Sachen-Coburg and Gotha, Paris 23 December 1845; Staatsarchiv Coburg, LA A, Nr. 7005.
 Letter to Baud, Dreden undated (1840/41), ARA, Arch. Kol., Verbaalen, 17 August 1843.
 Letter to Baud, Dresden, 18 January 1841, ARA, Arch. Kol., Verbaalen, 17 August 1843.
 Letter to Baud, Dresden, 18 January 1841, ARA, Arch. Kol., Verbaalen, 17 August 1843.
 Paris, 8 May 1845; Staatsarchiv Coburg, LA A, Nr. 7005.
 Paris, 22 April 1845; ARA, Arch. Kol., Verbaalen, 8. 12. 1845.
 While staying in Dresden he usually signed his paintings in Latin script and added a signature in Jawi and Javanese script.
 Crawfurd, J., History of the Indian archipelago, containing an account of the manners, arts, languages, religions ... of the inhabitants, 3 vol., Edinburgh, 1820. - Sura Adi Menggala was the key informant on Javanese literatur and culture for Sir Thomas Raffels.
 Loos-Haaxman, J. de, Verlaat Rapport Indie. S'Gravenhage: Mouton, 1968, p. 57.
 "... dem Geistesverkehr und (der) bildenden Gemeinschaft die (die) Menschen (hier) vereint", Letter to Ernst II., Buitenzorg, 4 March 1873; Staatsarchiv Coburg, LA A, Nr. 7005.
 His friend Ernst II of Saxony-Coburg and Gotha characterized him as follows: "Er war von Gemüth einer der ausgezeichnetsten Männer, wahrhaftig und treu, voller ritterlichen edlen Gesinnungen, poetisch und kindlich orientalisch in seinen Auffassungen, bestimmt und wohlwollend in allen seinen Handlungen", ( His disposition was comparable to that of the finest men, honest and loyal, chivalrous and noble in his cast of mind, poetic and childlike, oriental in his beliefs, firm and kind in his actions). Quoted in: Hofmann, Friedrich, "Ein Prinz und Maler Indiens", Die Gartenlaube, No. 25, 1865, p. 397.
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