Walter Spies, Legendary Artist from Germany Who Became the First Generation of Expatriates in Bali – Currently, the island of Bali is not only a vacation spot for foreign tourists. Not a few foreign tourists who fall in love with the natural beauty and culture of Bali, then decide to stay for a long time. Expatriates love for Bali is commonplace, and has been going on since the pre-independence era.

Is a legendary painter from Germany, Walter Spies who is known as the first generation of expatriates to come to Bali. The Island of the Gods was not the first land in the archipelago that Spies visited. Previously, he had lived in Yogyakarta and worked in the palace. Its existence plays an important role in the development of art in the Yogyakarta Palace.

The History of Walter Spies’ Arrival to Bali
The starting point of Walter Spies’ love for the Land of Bali occurred in 1925. At that time, Spies came to Bali for the first time thanks to an invitation from the Ubud nobleman Tjokorda Gde Raka Soekawati. During the meeting, the two of them also engaged in exciting conversations, especially those related to the arts. The visit then made a very deep impression on Spies.

However, at that time Spies was still bound by a work contract with the Yogyakarta Palace. As a result, Spies could not stay in Bali. His desire to stay in Bali for a long time was realized in 1927. Tjokorda Gde Raka Soekawati also openly welcomed Spies’ arrival and even allowed him to build a house in the Campuhan area.

Living in an environment that values ​​the arts, Walter Spies had no trouble adapting. In fact, the culture and high arts that exist in Ubud, played an important role for Spies in undergoing a turning point in his artistic development. Moreover, Spies also had a great love for the beautiful nature which at that time could be found easily in Bali.

During his stay in Bali, Walter Spies often spent time painting stunning natural landscapes in Bali. Spies is geniusly able to display the painting of Mount Agung with its splendor. Some of his famous works include Mountains and Pond (1938), Balinese Legend (1929), and A View from the Heights (1934).

The Controversy of Walter Spies’ Life and Love for Bali
Spies is indeed a German citizen and was born in Moscow on September 15, 1895. However, Spies has a great love for Bali. However, the story of Spies’ life is also colored by controversy. One of them is related to sexual orientation which has a tendency to like others or homosexuals.

Because of his sexual orientation, Spies was in prison for 5 years. The reason was because the Dutch East Indies government banned homosexuals in its territory. After being released, Spies’ life is still not calm. Moreover, due to World War II, relations between Germany and the Netherlands deteriorated. Spies was again detained by the Dutch.

By the Dutch, Spies was then exiled to Sri Lanka using the Van Imhoff ship. Who would have thought that this ship would be the last grave of Walter Spies. On its way to Sri Lanka, it was attacked by the Imperial Japanese Navy. Spies also became a victim in the attack, and died at the age of 47 years.

Today, paintings by Walter Spies are treasured works of art that are sought after by collectors. Not only that, the house that was once occupied by Spies also has its own important historical value for the Balinese people. You can see the building directly when you visit Ubud.

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