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    ‘Red Royal Poinciana Trees, Java’: Oil Painting by Dutch East Indies Colonial Artist Gerard Pieter Adolfs 

    Java, Indonesia

    height: 30cm, width: 40cm; with frame – height: 34.5cm, width: 44.3cm



    private collection, UK; originally exhibited in the Dutch Colonial Oranje Hotel, Padang, Sumatra.

    – scroll down to see further images –

    This oil-on-board painting shows a scene much preferred by Adolfs – a white-washed stone wall before royal poinciana trees (Delonix regia) with their flame-red blooms against the mountains of central Java.

    The painting is in its original frame and importantly the reverse spells out clear provenance. It retains the artist’s label which is printed with his name ‘Ger. P. Adolfs’ and a handwritten stock number of ‘723’. There is an additional handwritten reference, probably by Adolfs, to the ‘Oranje Hotel, Padang’. It seems likely that this work was exhibited there.  At that time, Padang was the main port of call of steamships from Europe before they made their way to Batavia (Jakarta), and the Oranje Hotel was popular with well-heeled Dutch visitors.

    Gerard Pieter Adolfs was born in early 1897 in Semarang, on the northern coast of Central Java, and died in 1968 in the Netherlands). His father worked on Java as an architect. He became a well known Dutch East Indies painter, painting in an Impressionist style.  He received many positive reviews in the press. His main period of Dutch East Indies paintings was the 1930s – in 1940, he left the Indies and settled in Amsterdam.

    Adolfs is represented in the collection of former Indonesian President Sukarno with a painting similar to the example here, showing flame-red royal poinciana trees. The Sukarno painting is illustrated in Dullah (Vol. I, 1956, no. 42).

    The painting is in excellent condition. It is signed with the artist’s name in red paint in the lower left of the painting.


    An early postcard for the Oranje Hotel, Padang.



    Dullah, Paintings from the Collection of Dr Sukarno, President of the Republic of Indonesia, Volumes 1 & 2, The People’s Fine Arts Publishing House, China, 1956.

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