ROLAND STRASSER (1895-1974)
Signed lower right
Oil and gold leaf on canvas, 76 x 46 cm
Private collection, Santa Monica (Acquired directly from the artist)
Private collection, London
Roland Strasser, who died in Santa Monica, was one of the great traveller-artists and orientalist romantics of the 20th century. He was born in Vienna, attended the Academy of Arts there and in Munich. During World War I he was the official war-painter in the Austrian army. After the war he became a traveller-artist, doing his best work when inspired by totally different cultures. He arrived in Indonesia in 1920 where he lived and worked in Java, Sumatra, New Guinea (Irian Jaya) and Bali. In Bali he met Willem Dooyewaard, they became friends and together travelled to China, Tibet, Mongolia and Japan. In 1935 he was back in Bali where he lived with his wife in Kintamani till the end of World War II. They then moved to Santa Monica in the United States of America where he died in 1974.
Strasser is a well-known painter, draughtsman and watercolourist in an expressionist style, combining the Austrian expressionism with the magic and the beauty of the Far East. The present painting is a very successful example and a highlight of Strasser’s “magical expressionism”.