Museum Le Mayeur

Sanur's earliest expat

Photo of , , Sanur

What we say: 4 stars

Belgian artist Adrien Jean Le Mayeur de Merpres served as an army painter through World War I before embarking on a series of international journeys that saw him finally arrive at Singaraja in north Bali in 1932.

He had come to Bali ostensibly to prepare for an exhibition in Singapore but he became so enamoured with Bali, its culture, rituals and people that he made it his home, becoming one of Sanur's earliest expat residents.

Born in 1880, Le Mayeur was in his early fifties when he arrived in Bali and soon after arriving, began using the then 15-year-old Ni Pollock as his primary model for his paintings -- many of which were painted within the grounds of his beachside house at Sanur. A striking woman, they were married three years later and she remained his primary model throughout their married life.

Following the end of World War II (during which Le Mayeur was interned by the occupying Japanese) he continued to paint prolifically, often selling pieces of art to foreign tourists as his fame continued to grow. In the 1950s the Indonesian Ministry for Education and Culture took an interest in his activities and a couple of years later the house and its contents were passed over to the government to be maintained as a museum.

One year following the transfer, suffering from cancer, Le Mayeur returned to Belgium for medical treatment, and on May 31, 1958, he died. Ni Pollock returned to Bali and continued to live in the house till her death in 1985.

Today, the house remains open to the public and, while small, displays an interesting collection of his paintings and sketches (albeit not in the best condition!) It's very easy to wander the rooms and compact yet ornate garden and imagine the artist and his subject at work.

Allow thirty minutes or so to explore the house and grounds -- a worthy diversion from serious beach time.

More details
Beachside, just south of Jl Hang Tuah
Last updated: 22nd April, 2011

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