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The Le Mayeur Museum of Sanur  

by on Sunday, 18 February 20072 Comments | 4,543 views

The sleepy fishing village of Sanur was developed as Bali’s first resort to accommodate the needs to international travelers. But long before the arrival of tourists, this enchanting beach front destination was home to renowned Belgian artist, Adrien Jean Le Mayeur de Merpres. His home
is now a museum and stands as an interesting site of historical significance located on the Sanur beach walkway just 30-meters north of the famous Bali Beach Hotel.


Born in 1880, Le Mayeur was the youngest son of a noble Belgian family. As an adult he was passionate about travel and spent time exploring various countries before arriving on Bali’s shores in 1932. Spellbound by the sights and sounds of the island, he journeyed south to Denpasar
where he rented a small house and chose to live within a Balinese community, much to the displeasure to the ruling Dutch authorities.


For almost 8 months he spent all of his time painting inspiring objects including two Balinese Legong dancers who were considered legends in their time. Le Mayeur exhibited these works in Singapore, which were extremely well received by art collectors and critics alike. Deciding to reap the benefits of this success, he then extended his stay in Bali and purchased a modest piece of land on the Sanur coast. He also married his model, the lovely dancer Ni Pollock and she became the subject for a lot more of his works.


Le Mayeur’s reputation as an acclaimed artist was enhanced with further exhibitions in Singapore and Malaysia. Many of his works were considered masterpieces and highly sought after by art collectors. Sukarno, Indonesia’s first President and Prime Minister Nehru of India were just some of the clients who visited Le Mayeur at his studio in Sanur.


Upon his deathbed at the age of 78, Le Mayeur asked his wife, Ni Pollock to entrust their Sanur homes to the state to be established as a museum. There are over 80 masterpieces currently exhibited at the museum. A selection of these works show times of hardship during WWII when it was increasingly difficult to obtain canvas and other art supplies. Several works were painted on different mediums such as thin plywood, paper and even plastic bags.


On display are a number of Le Mayuer’s works that were created as a result of his journeys as a young man. A small token entrance fee gives visitors the opportunity to see a collection of unique artworks as well as insight to the lifestyle of one of Bali’s very first expatriates. The house stands in its original condition with most of the equipment, books and statues showing a part of Sanur’s past.

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