Monday, April 20, 2015

Walter Spies, A Legend Maestro in Bali

Walter Spies, A Legend painting
Who is Walter Spies? A Germany from Moscow, painter, pianist, ethnologists, historians and collectors. Walter Spies (15 September 1895 - January 19, 1942). Walter Spies came from a wealthy family in Germany, he has also been long settled in the city of Moscow Russia. His grandfather emigrated from Elberfeld in 1846 there and set up a trading company in the Russian empire. Parents Walter Spies named Leon, one of the four business empire heir of his grandfather who married Martha von Mohl. Martha comes from a famous family who came from aristocratic pedigree Württemberg. His father had been a consul in Naples. They have four children who are all talented in the arts.

Walter was born in 1895. The experience of playing music the first time in his own home. Spies completed his high school exams in the Dresden city. At the beginning of the outbreak of first World War, at that time, he was in Moscow and was 19 years old with her sister considered a "foreign military conscription and enemies of the state" and taken prisoner in the Urals. In 1917 after the ceasefire occurred he returned from Moscow and gave away his paintings, which he made during a prisoner and get a job as a theater artist. 1918 he returned to the city of Dresden and there he took courses in the field of painting. 1921 he moved back to the city of Berlin and worked as a musician and composer.

But in Berlin he also can not stand too long. 1923 he rented a steamer named "Hamburg" and anchored on the island of Java. Station stops first time it is the city of Bandung, where he got the money for his life from playing the piano for silent movie theaters as well as to follow the concerts. There he lived not too long, he moved once again to the city of Yogyakarta. In December 1923 he was appointed by the Sultan of Yogya to be the head of the Palace Orchestra. In Yogyakarta he also studied Javanese gamelan music and creating writing for the instrument.

Walter Spies, A Legend Maestro in Bali
In 1925 at the invitation of Duke Ruler of Ubud Bali, Tjokorde Gde Raka Sukawati, he first set foot to the island of Bali. At there he studied the Balinese dance. He did the choreography of the dance that became known as the famous Kecak dance. In 1927 he moved permanently to Bali. In Bali, he spent his time in the field of arts and culture. He busied himself in the field of gamelan music and wrote the music on paper.

He also wrote Beryl de Zoete together a book called "Dance and Drama in Bali". He also learned the art of woodcarving, and to this day is known as the creator of small wooden figures. He painted and sell and distribute these paintings; together Viktor von Plessen he made a movie called "Insel der Dämonen" or translated "Island Evil Spirits"; studied Hinduism and history of Bali, which is then used as the basis for the book "Liebe und Tod auf Bali or Love and Death in Bali" of Vicky Baum; he designed for noble families Tjokorde some royal residence, set up a museum and many others.

Walter Spies, A Legend Maestro in Bali

In the 30's Home-Spies turned into a center for culture of Bali. List of famous people whom he invited or who came to me there is remarkable: from Charlie Chaplin, Leopold Stokowski, Noel Coward, a pioneer female aviator Elly Beinhorn, movie producer Viktor von Plessen, Barbara Hutton, Vicky Baum, Cole Porter, Margaret Mead and many others. As from 1938 he began to further isolate themselves. On the one hand because he does not want to be a tour guide again.

He did not die in Bali but in a sea of ​​the western part of the port of Sibolga. When Hitler's troops in 1940 conquered the Netherlands, most of the Germans in the East Indies imprisoned. They were shipped to India, because it feared would support the Japanese state was preparing to invade there. Walter Spies entered the detention camp in Sumatra and in 1942 along with 500 other prisoners are in a ship called "van Imhoff". But not far from the island of Nias a Japanese flying boat attacked the ship and shot on the ship. Crew can save themselves, but more than 400 German prisoners down with the ship including Walter Spies. Because he can not come back to Europe, so at first he forgotten. But with the passage of time he re-discovered. With the anniversary of the 100th Walter Spies in September 1995, and in cooperation with museums in Germany was sought for two exhibitions in Indonesia, the first in the National Gallery in Jakarta and one in Bali Agung Rai Museum.

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