ERNST AGERBEEK (1903-1945)
'Chinese man eating rice, in a room with tea pot and opium set'
Signed and dated E Agerbeek 1927
Oil on canvas, 50 x 35 cm
Ernst Agerbeek was born in the Netherlands of Dutch/Indonesian parents and was trained as an artist in Brussels. In the early 1920’s he was in Indonesia where he became a drawing teacher in a secondary school and a member of the Vereeniging van Beeldende Kunstenaars in Batavia in 1929.
He lived in Surabaya and exhibited at the Kunstkringhuis Surabaya in 1926. Agerbeek is best known for his genre paintings of the Chinese population in Batavia prior to the occupation of Indonesia by the Japanese during the Second World War. Because he was half Indonesian he escaped imprisonment in a Japanese prisoner of war camp during the Japanese occupation, but in 1946 at the age of 42 he is believed to have been beheaded by the Japanese as a resistance fighter. Up to now only about 20 Indonesian paintings by Agerbeek are known.