Set amongst tropical gardens in the center of Ubud, Puri Lukisan is the oldest art museum in Bali. This museum has an impressive range of traditional Balinese paintings, woodcarvings and contemporary Balinese artworks. The name Puri Lukisan means “palace of painting.”
Much of the work at the museum focuses on Balinese art, culture and history. The museum also showcases art by European expats, including Walter Spies from Germany and Rudolf Bonnet from The Netherlands.
In 1936, Bonnet established the Pita Maha, a co-operative to support the development of Balinese artists. With the help of the Ubud prince Tjokorda Gde Agung Sukawati, Bonnet created the Puri Lukisan Museum in 1954. Bonnet became the museum’s first curator. Both men died in 1978, but their legacy lives on.
Visit the museum’s original gallery, named Pitamaha, to see paintings by influential European artists in Bali and the works by their students. I Gusti Nyoman Lempad was one of them; he painted the mural outside, a replica of the original depiction of local rice paddies.
In other galleries, browse post-World War II Balinese art and see examples of the classical Kamasan style, originating in Java. There is also a collection of works focusing on traditional Balinese scenes and styles. Keep an eye out for the woodcarvings throughout the grounds.
Take your time and spend a few hours in the complex, which includes a bookstore, a gift shop and a balé (coffee shop) for refreshments. The museum also hosts guided tours, shows and workshops, which include painting, dancing, music, woodcarving and batik, a method of dyeing cloth. Check the museum’s website for prices and programs.
Museum Puri Lukisan is located along the main street in Ubud. There is free parking. The museum is open daily, except major public holidays. There is a small admission fee for those above 15 years of age. Flash photography and tripods are prohibited. Most artworks have signs in English.
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