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A.J. Le Mayeur

In Belgium, where he was born, Le Mayeur de Merprès, found little support and his wealthy family thought he was nothing but an adventurer and a bohémièn. So, it was no surprise that in 1932, when he was already 52, he headed for Bali.

In the south of Bali he worked on an exposition to be held in Singapore. He was deeply impressed by the temple rituals and dances, and by the girl Ni Pollok, a legong dancer, in particular.

His exhibition in Singapore was a success and his post-impressionistic paintings were all sold. Le Mayeur decided to return to Bali where he bought a piece of land near Sanur beach and built a large villa and garden.

Ni Pollok had turned 16 and too old to dance the Legong, so she became Le Mayeurs only model and lover. She became the main theme of his paintings and in 1935, when she was 18, they married.

Unlike the other western painters, Le Mayeur wasn't interested in Balinese painters and their art. He had no contact with them at all.

Due to his Belgian nationality he wasn't sent to prison camp during the war, but placed under house arrest and continued to work.

After the war tourism grew and a visit to Le Mayeur's house became an extra tourist attraction. The couple's hospitality was endless and even the magazine National Geographic mentions in march 1951: "Though people wander in and out their house all day, Le Mayeurs's hospitality is unending."

The tourists eagerly bought paintings from this Belgian Balinese and his work found its' way to art-collections all over the world.

In 1958 the painter travelled back to Brussels for a treatment of ear-cancer. However, it appeared incurable and the painter died May 31, 1958.

Ni Pollok returned to Bali and married an Italian doctor, who was forced to leave Indonesia shortly afterwards. She stayed behind alone. She lived in the Le Mayeur villa until her death in 1985.

After her death, the house and hundreds of paintings was left to the Indonesian government who turned it into a museum.


We don't have permission to publish some of the paintings so you'll just have to go and see for yourself in Bali.

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