The sharper edge to traveling in Asia

WoWasis discovers Bali’s Top 6 museums

Written By: herbrunbridge - May• 20•10

Denpasar Provincial Museum

Most Balinese museums of note are right in the town of Ubud, a couple of others within short driving distance are well worth a visit, too. Bali has inspired artists for generations, including a number of exceptional expat painters active in the 20th century, such as Rudolf Bonnet, Arie Smit, and Walter Spies.

In Ubud

Museum Puri Lukisan
Yayasan Ratna Wartha, Ubud
Open 9 am – 5 pm daily
This exceptional museum started with a donation of paintings from Rudolf Bonnet, and was formally founded in 1956. Eventually the collection increased, donated by different artists themselves and collectors, and includes the work of Balinese artists such as Ida Bagus Gelgel, I Gusti Nyoman Lempad, Anak Agung Gde Sobrat, and I Gusti Made Deblog. The Dutch government supported the return of Bonnet in 1975, who was summoned to leave Bali in 1956, to complete the building of the museum. The museum’s collection highlights, through paintings and woodcarvings, the important developments of Balinese arts, focusing on the past two centuries. Its bookstore offers a wonderful selection of books on Balinese arts.

Agung Rai Museum of Art (ARMA)
Jl. Pengosekan, Ubud
Open 9 am – 6 pm daily
The permanent exhibition of paintings by Balinese, Indonesian and foreign artists is housed in a wonderfully landscaped setting. The paintings range from traditional to contemporary including  classical Kamasan paintings on tree bark, masterpieces by Batuan artists of the 1930’s and 1940’s, the only works to be seen on the island of Bali by the 19th century Javanese artist Raden Saleh Syarif Bustaman and German painter Walter Spies, works by Balinese masters such as I Gusti Nyoman Lempad, Ida Bagus Made, Anak Agung Gde Sobrat and I Gusti Made Deblong, and a number of other expat artists, including Willem Gerald Hofker, Rudolf Bonnet, Adrien-Jean Le Mayeur de Merpres and Willem Dooijwaard. The works of Walter Spies, an influential artist whose work is shown to great effect here in a room dedicated to his oeuvre, is not to be missed. The museum is located on the grounds of the ARMA Resort, where visitors may also book lodging.

IndonesiaPromoBannerNeka Art Museum
Raya Campuhan St.
Kedewatan Village, Ubud
Open Monday-Saturday: 9 am- 5 pm, Sunday: Noon – 5 pm
The Neka Art Museum was opened in 1982 and is named after a Balinese teacher Suteja Neka who collected paintings as a means of artistic documentation. Nowadays the museum has a great selection of works from many famous Balinese artists and expats who have lived here and influenced local artists. This can’t miss museum features works by Balinese and expat artists such as Arie Smit, Rudolf Bonnet, Theo Meier, and I Wayan Atjin Tisna.  Do not fail to have lunch or dinner at the legendary Naughty Nuri’s across the street.

Blanco Renaissance Museum
Jl. Raya Campuhan, Ubud
Open 9 am – 5 pm daily
This unique museum, featuring the works of Don Antonio and son Mario Blanco, is a sometimes odd, but always fascinating glimpse into the flamboyant world of this Catalan expat artist family. It’s housed in their centrally-located Ubud studio-home, and well worth a visit.

Other museums of note in Bali
Museum Seni Lukis Klasik Bali (Gunarsa Museum of Classical & Modern Art)
Located 5 km west of Semarapura (Klungkung)
Tel: 0366-22255
Open daily, 9 am – 4 pm
GPS: S08°33.248’  E115°23.209’
Dr. Nyoman Gunarsa, known primarily as a painter of Balinese dancers, founded this three-story museum, which includes his studio as well as many of his paintings, which though representational, combine elements of abstraction. A nice collection of traditional Balinese paintings are on exhibit, as are masks, wood carvings, and art in stone. The grounds themselves are striking as well.

Denpasar Provincial Museum (Museum Negeri Propinsi Bali)
Jalan Letkol Wisnu, Denpasar
Tel 361 22 2680
Open 8 am -3 pm daily
Denpasar’s ethnographic museum is worth a visit, and travelers landing at the airport often make a stop at the museum before heading to Ubud. Here you’ll find prehistoric art, shadow puppets, dance costumes and textiles, in a beautiful setting comprising several pavilions. Do call ahead, as hours tend to change depending on local variances.

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One Comment

  1. Shayarin Williams says:

    Cool and great, there is really some good points on this post some of my colleagues might find this relevant, will send them a mail, many thanks. Good blog! Really fantatic stuff here.

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