Buying Auke Sonnega paintings – Highest Prices Paid:  Artist Bio & images follow:

AUKE CORNELIS SONNEGA (Dutch, 1910-1963).

Born in Leeuwarden and educated at the Kunstnijverheidsschool in Amsterdam (School of Arts and Crafts), Auke Sonnega is best known for the spiritually-charged paintings he made while living in Bali.

After working as a textile designer in Batavia, Auke Sonnega first came to Bali in the mid 1930’s where he initially wrote newspaper travel stories. After World War II he moved to Ubud, and took over the former studio of Rudolf Bonnet in Puri Kaleran. His painting style at that point showed the influence of Art Deco, and often had a mystical quality.

At the age of 19 Sonnega heard a speech by the spiritual leader Jidda Krishnamurti that spoke profoundly to his inner needs. Later, after graduating from the Utrecht Academy of Art, Sonnega worked as a textile designer in Holland’s art and crafts industry. In 1935 he boarded a ship for the East with a single possession: a Harley-Davidson motorbike. During his first years in Indonesia he worked an advertising studio and toured the islands during vacations. Although he visited Bali he did not settle there until many years later.

Following the Japanese invasion of Bali in 1942, Sonnega was imprisoned in a camp where he and his friends would suffer near starvation and intense cruelty. In 1951, his artwork changed after he experienced spiritual visions brought on by conversations with his friend Husein Rofe. The change in Sonnega’s inner life led to a heightened emotional awareness that is especially present in the paintings he created between 1954 and 1957. He produced spiritually themed works, works inspired by Balinese music and portraits of beautiful Balinese men and women.

In 1958, in spite of the fact that President Sukarno was an avid collector of his paintings, Sonnega was forced to choose between renouncing his Dutch citizenship or leaving Indonesia.  His friends Arie Smit and Han Snel stayed behind. After returning to Holland,  Sonnega failed to regain his artistic and personal equilibrium. After a long illness he passed away in The Hague in 1963.

Sonnega stayed in Bali until 1957 when authorities forced him to leave for political reasons.

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