Portrait of Ni Pollok, wife of Belgian painter Adrien-Jean Le Mayeur de Merprès (Jean Le Mayeur) in the garden of their house in Bali, 29 March 1949 | Photo: C.J. (Cees) Taillie | Amsterdam, Tropenmuseum
Address: Jl Hang Tuah, Sanur Kaja, Denpasar Selatan, Kota Denpasar
During the First World War, Belgian artist Adrien-Jean Le Mayeur de Merprès was enlisted as a painter and photographer on the battlefield. But the violence of the war wasn’t for him - much like Gauguin, he sought refuge in exotic environs, seeking out a more peaceful version of humanity and uncontaminated nature. In 1932, after having travelled the world from North Africa to Cambodia, he came to Bali and it was love at first sight. Fascinated by the landscape and the culture of the Island of the Gods, here, Le Mayeur met who would become his lifelong companion and muse, the beautiful ballerina Li Pollok. The artist built a house on the coast of Sanur which, at the time, was a simple fishing village, and Bali became his country. Then Le Mayeur went on to become one of the most influential painters in the history of Southeast Asia. Today, his house is a museum, just twenty minutes from the centre of Denpasar. Walls in sculpted stone, pavements in red brick and engraved-wood blinds depicting the stories of Ramayana greet visitors in this perfect example of Balinese architecture. In the main building is the artist’s studio, the library, the bedroom as well as the make-up corner and the bathroom of Li Pollok with the original furniture and decorated with scenes inspired by shadow theatre. During a visit, it is possible to admire Le Mayeur’s collection of traditional Balinese art and 80 of his post-Impressionist paintings - scenes with vibrant colours evoke the paradisiacal harmony of life on the island with local beauty immersed in lush nature and the recurring image of Li Pollok.