Balinese Dancers and Other Native Beauties: Romualdo Locatelli

I’ve been looking at a lot of Orientalist art lately, which is how I discovered the work of Romualdo Locatelli.  Although most Orientalist art dealt with the Near/Middle East, Southeast Asia also received a bit of attention.  Locatelli, for example, did much to bring the islands of Bali and the Philippines to the public’s attention, focusing particularly on girls and young women, especially the dancers of Bali, with their beautiful, intricate costumes.  Locatelli came to Orientalism later than most, with much of his seminal work being produced from the 1920s to the 1940s.  In his native Italy Locatelli’s work was so popular that some of it was even collected by the Pope and Benito Mussolini.

In 1942, at the height of WWII, Locatelli, aged 37, disappeared without a trace while hunting somewhere near Manila in the Philippines, though not before getting to hobnob with General Douglas MacArthur.  The story of events leading up to this disappearance are quite fascinating; you can read about them here.  Anyway, here is a nice sampling of his lovely Impressionist paintings.

I think this first one has to be my favorite. I love the oblong framing technique.

Romualdo Locatelli – La lettura (1926)

Romualdo Locatelli – La mascherina (1927)

Romualdo Locatelli – La Balinese (1939)

Romualdo Locatelli – Legong Dancer (1939)

[Editor’s update, 2016/06/04: there is a larger image of Legong Dancer on Huffington Post.]

Romualdo Locatelli – Nude (1939)

Romualdo Locatelli – Tigah (1939)

Romualdo Locatelli – Portrait of a Young Girl

Romualdo Locatelli – Young Balinese Girl with Hibiscus

Romualdo Locatelli – More Than a Handful

Romualdo Locatelli – Sardine Girls

Romualdo Locatelli – (Title Unknown) (1)

Romualdo Locatelli - (Title Unknown) (2)

Romualdo Locatelli – (Title Unknown) (2)