3 min readDec 14, 2020


“An ordinary painter” —Affandi Museum.

Affandi koesoema, Photo. Museum Affandi

And with the birth of one Affandi Koesoemah in the West Java province of Indonesia in 1907, the world of expressionism was set to know the name “Affandi” by around the 1950s.

Self Portrait, Affandi, 1944. MutualArt

Affandi was self-taught, mostly, having derailed himself from his set path of being a doctor. One set by his father. But of course, our dear Affandi liked to draw. He held many jobs before he started painting seriously in the 1940s and had been a box office clerk, house painter and a billboard artist.

Dogs Fighting, Affandi, 1958. MutualArt

Even though he mostly taught himself how to paint, we can see in his painting the influence of Impressionists like Goya, Munch, Gough and even perhaps, Bruegel. In a biography in Ocula it is said, “Affandi is Affandi, he did not philosophize in his paintings, although he painted beggars, homeless people or himself. Affandi simply described the life itself. His ideas and objects were interrelated and he always explored his paintings objects before he painted them.”

Beboth Ayam, Affindi, 1965. MutualArt

The trademark of Affandi is a technique that he came up with called Squeezing the tube, the application of which requires that the paint be squeezes directly out the tube and onto the canvas without the involvement of brush, paint knife or other utensil. It is chronicled that he came upon this technique by chance. One day he either couldn’t find his brush or it was broken (the account varies), so he decided to apply the paint directly and found the result to be more lively and effectual.

Wisdom of the East, fresco mural, Affandi, 1967. Paintings Indonesia

Affandi spent a lot of his time in India, where he painted subjects from everyday life and scene. He placed more importance in the portrayal of emotion than the real side of things, it was more what he felt than what he saw. In all his travels from India to Baltimore, he painted with the same sentiment and was often criticized for his paintings making people feel sad.

Affandi was the first Indonesian artist to gain international recognition. In 1945, he designed himself a free form house in Yogyakarta which now serves as the Affandi Museum, holding over 250 of his paintings. He was buried there in 1990 after his death at the age of 83.

Affindi’s self portrait on a 1997 stamp. Last Dodo




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