Le Mayeur Museum is a memorial museum mainly housing the artworks and personal history of painter Adrien-Jean Le Mayeur de Merpres (February 9, 1880 – May 31, 1958) – a Brussels-born artist who was impressed by the shores of Sanur and dedicated his entire life there to the two things he loved the most: the
Le Mayeur Museum is a memorial museum mainly housing the artworks and personal history of painter Adrien-Jean Le Mayeur de Merpres (February 9, 1880 – May 31, 1958) – a Brussels-born artist who was impressed by the shores of Sanur and dedicated his entire life there to the two things he loved the most: the arts and women. Before deciding to spend his life in Bali, Le Mayeur had already travelled around the world. Sacrificing his travels to pursue his love of arts, he found himself enamoured of the exotic scent of frangipani and a certain bare-breasted Legong dancer, his wife and muse, Ni Pollok.
After Le Mayeur found ‘home’ in the island and Ni Pollok, who soon became the muse of his paintings and the rest of his life, the artist created a range of artworks in his impressionistic ‘dob’ style of painting. His technique was considered unorthodox, albeit in a brilliant way. Le Mayeur utilized thick and rather stiff brushes to create sharp yet fluent caresses, which were later elaborated on by Antonio Blanco, another influential painter in Bali.
Le Mayeur passed away on May 31, 1958. The loving couple left no children but the well-crafted mansion that is the museum today, and its legacy was bequeathed to the Indonesian government. The museum exemplifies the priceless heritage of an artist and a nation. The main building features the former living quarters of the couple, with classical Balinese elements, sculpted stone walls and red terrazzo floor tiles.
Carved wood dominates the furnishings, and window sills feature motifs inspired by wayang shadow puppet characters. There are five rooms that serve as silent witnesses to the lives of Le Mayeur and Ni Pollok. Visitors may imagine the similar love story brought again to life through inanimate objects, similar to the retro-styled storytelling of the film Titanic. Walkthroughs include the artist’s studio, reading room and study, and the bedroom as well as Ni Pollok’s vanity corner and bathroom.
Good to Know
Le Mayeur is easily found, located right on the beachfront in Sanur. The compound features structures in Balinese architecture that houses well over eighty artworks categorised into five different collections based on the mediums that Le Mayeur used, such as hardboard, plywood, canvas and paper. Most of the paintings in his collection feature bare-breasted women, and not all were the results of inspiration in Bali, as he had travelled the world prior to calling the island his home.
Most of his world travels included Europe, Africa, India, Italy and France. Some of his work feature subjects inspired by his travels he painted during the 1920s. Le Mayeur arrived in Bali in 1932 in his early 50s. It was supposed to be part of his travels until he met his muse and future wife. They married after three years of their first meeting and Le Mayeur built the house on the shoreline when Sanur was a mere quiet fishing village. One of the structures in the gardens is a meeting pavilion where Le Mayeur used to receive his guests and potential buyers of his art pieces. (BTN)