Anak Agung Gde Meregeg (Sobrat), Indonesian (Bali) (1912 - 2000)



Sobrat was the son of an aristocratic family from the town of Padangtegal in Ubud. Prior to World War II, he was also known as I Dewa Sobrat. As a child, he was exposed to various forms of art: shadow puppet performance, scared dances at the village's temples. He learned to make shadow puppets from his grandfather. This became the basis for his skillful depiction of the Ramayana and Mahabharata in his early paintings.

Sobrat and his neighbor A.A. Gde Meregeg were the first two artists in Padangtegal to meet Walter Spies, a German artist who together with Rudolf Bonnet were thought to be the agents of change for the modernization of Balinese art. Spies' influence can be seen in his early works (prior to 1940's) with split or double horizons. He learned western style painting from Walter Spies and Rudolf Bonnet.

From 1957 and 1959 Sobrat taught Art at the Academy of Fine Arts in Yogyakarta.

In his early career, before 1930, Sobrat produced mainly Wayang paintings. Some of his early works can be found in the Museum Puri Lukisan in Ubud, Bali, Indonesia. When he and his neighbor, Anak Agung Gde Meregeg, met Walter Spies in the end of 1920s, he worked and lived with Spies for a year. The use of multiple horizons showed the influence of Spies on his work. In early, 1930s, he was also taught by Rudolf Bonnet who considered him as the most talented Balinese artist of the period for his drawing skill, color composition and his versatility. It is from Bonnet that he learned portraiture. Sobrat produced many portraits, mostly of his daughter. A fine example of this is a beautiful portrait of his daughter drawn in 1962.

Bonnet once wrote that Anak Agung Gde Sobrat was the most talented artist in Bali. His works can be found in several museums throughout the world: Bali Museum; Museum Puri Lukisan - Ubud, Bali; Rijksmuseum voor Volkenkunde - Leiden; and Tropen Museum - Amsterdam. In Bali, his pre-war and modern works can be viewed at the Puri Lukisan Museum

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