The Le Mayeur Museum in Sanur Bali

by Nick on November 11, 2006

by Nick | November 11th, 2006  

The history of Bali is dotted with foreigners who spent time here and somehow made a difference. One of those people was Belgian artist Adrien Jean Le Mayeur de Merpres (1880-1958). He arrived in Bali in 1932 and lived in the village of Klandis close to Denpasar. While living there he met a local Balinese dancer named Ni Pollok who was a famous legong dancer and considered the best in Bali.

Ni Pollok was very beautiful, and Le Mayeur offered a her a gig as his model. Though she was still a teenager they were married in 1935 and both moved to a house in Sanur where he painted portraits of her.

The house of Le Mayeur and Ni Pollok is now a museum, featuring some of his painting of her as well as European pieces. It is located about 30 meters to the right of the parking area at the end of Jl. Hang Tuah. My Rough Guide said the museum was open from Sun-Fri 8am-4pm ( donation). Arriving at 2.50pm I was told the place was already closed and that the Sunday closing time was 3pm.

The house faces the beach and must have been a super relaxing place back in the 30′s. The grounds contained many shrines and small statues, many of which were decorated with flowers. On the front of the central entrance are some lovely carving decorations.

During WWII Le Mayeur continued living in the house and although the place was ransacked still managed to keep the paintings. Wartime shortages meant he had to use sack cloth instead of canvas. From what I can gather, the collection doesn’t include as many paintings of Ni Pollok, as you might expect, although there are paintings of other Balinese ladies. Charcoal and crayon sketches are also included.

When Le Mayeur died, he left the house and his art collection, to Ni Pollok with an agreement, that she would eventually pass it on, to the Indonesian government. Ni Pollok passed away in 1985, and the house became the Museum Le Mayeur. The museum really feels like a house from the grounds.

What is the Le Mayeur Museum?
The Le Mayeur Museum is a house structure containing some examples of the work of Belgian artist Adrien Jean Le Mayeur de Merpres.
Where is the Le Mayeur Museum?
At the beach end of Jl. Hang Tuah in Sanur.
How do you get there from Kuta?
Take Bypass Sanur to Jl. Hang Tuah in Sanur.
How long does it take to get there?
20 minutes
When in Le Mayeur Museum open?
Sun-Fri 8am-4pm, Sun 8am-3pm
Admission:
Donation
Tips:
A common thing in Bali, is for staff at museums to close early, then try to charge you for the ‘service’ of keeping the place open. Best to go in the morning, or right after lunch.
Photography allowed?
Officially no, but if you are careful you’ll get some shots.
Facilities:
Not much, but in the immediate area are food places / shops. Jl. Danau Tamblingan is lined with palces for lunch.

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