Walter Spies (1895-1942) was a Russian born, German artist who settled in the colonial Dutch East Indies from 1923 until his untimely death in 1942. He spent the early years in Java, but from 1927 onwards he lived in and around the village of Ubud in Bali at the invitation of the Prince of Ubud at the time - Tjokorda Raka Sukawati.
He was active in many areas of artistic and scientific endeavour although the focus of my work is going to be on his work as a painter. Spies, along with the Dutch artist Rudolf Bonnet, has been attributed with influencing the work of local Balinese artists, causing them to work in more modern genres and making their work more palatable for the fairly narrow tastes of western tourists of the time and since.
My name is Geff Green and among other things my thesis will examine the nature, relevance and strength of his influence and through this perspective I will chart and discuss the development of opinions about Spies from both Westerners and Indonesian commentators over the last sixty years. It will also question some of the assumptions created through a Western-oriented critical canon which has been created as much by the literature and influence of tourism as by art-historians, social historians and anthropologists.
Some of the images on this site are black and white although all of the original paintings were in colour. This is because many of his paintings are lost or untraceable and only black and white(often poor)photographs remain. I hope you enjoy this website and find it informative. It will be updated regularly and any comments will be of great interest to me.
You can choose to look at His early European works,
or his works completed in Asia
It is also possible to view his drawings