A century earlier, in 1811, Raden Saleh Sjarif Bastaman, known as Raden Saleh, descended from a ruling Javanese family, was born in Terbaya, near Semarang, on the north coast of the island of Java.
When he was sent to the Dutch College in Jakarta at the age of 10, he was able to join European circles where his artistic talents quickly distinguished him in the eyes of the Belgian painter Antoine Payen, who took him under his wing. The latter sent him to study the art of portraiture and landscapes in the Netherlands in 1829; his first exhibitions took place in The Hague and Amsterdam after studying with Cornelis Kruseman and Andreas Schelfhout for five years.
Raden Saleh was a great admirer of the Romantics, especially Delacroix. He was inspired by them and developed a special reputation for orientalist and exotic subjects, especially hunting scenes.
After travelling all over Europe for six years, he settled in Dresden, where he earned himself a different reputation; in the Netherlands his talent was attributed only to his colonial and European education, whereas he was seen in Germany as a fascinating character.
In 1851, he finally returned to the Dutch East Indies where he became the portrait painter to Java’s aristocratic society. He only came back to Europe once, staying there for three years.
His familiarity with the higher spheres of European society and his talent, especially as a portraitist, earned him the title of Painter to the King from King William III of the Netherlands.
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Are you the owner of archive material or additional material about Asian painters, or would you like one of your works assessed ? Contact us