Trubus and the Woman in a Green Kebaya (1954)
Completed in 1954 by the rather enigmatic Trubus Soedarsono (Yogyakarta, 1926-1966), the Woman in Green Kebaya is a unique painting.
Trubus is usually known for his amazing realist technique. He is also known for his painterly strokes, which he —either using a brush or a palette knife— applies swiftly to express his artistic sensitivity. The combination of his realism and his swift painterly strokes is what made him famous.
The Woman in Green Kebaya also shows his swift painterly strokes, the floral motifs on the woman’s green kebaya seem to even jump out onto the background of the painting. The painting is expressive, not of the movement of the Legong dancer whom he often paints, but rather it seems to be expressive of his own excitement in painting this piece.
Who is the subject of the painting?
Let us compare the painting with two other works by Trubus, depicting women in kebaya, from the collection of the President Soekarno.
Trubus S – Woman of Djogja – 1952 – oil on canvas – 108 x 88 cm
President Sukarno Collection Volume I p. 31
Painted two years earlier , the Woman of Djogja shows a striking similarity to to the Woman in a Green Kebaya. While the subject of the painting might not be the same person, the kebaya that is worn seems very much alike. The painting is also done in the same loose, informal, painterly style.
The Portrait of Mrs T, on the other hand, is painted a year later, and is done in a markedly realist manner. It seems that it was the style of the times to wear bluish-green kebaya ornamented with floral motifs.
The images from the President Sukarno Collection have been taken from the website of the Indonesian Visual Art Archive: http://oa.ivaa-online.org/