Indo-Europese Batik: Art Nouveau in Nederlands-Indie By Veronica Warnars

Explore Batik Art

1st July 2023: I met Kees De Ruiter, the author of “De Veronica Warnars Collectie 1850 – 1950 — Indo-Europese Batik: Art Nouveau in Nederlands-Indie”, at Rudolf Smend’s 50th Anniversary event this June, and was invited to his house to get a signed copy of his book. His apartment is like a museum; full of artefacts and antiques which he had collected over many years, including highly sought-after Indo-Dutch hand-batiked sarongs passed down from his Indo-Dutch great grand-mother, Marie Warnars-Krol. An oil painting of her portrait is seen on right side of the photograph (A). But he has no plans to sell them as these were inherited by his beloved mother, Veronica Warnars, whom he dedicates this book to, in honour of her profound influence on his passion in the aesthetic and historical value of Batik art. As the fourth generational Batik collector in his family, Kees shares his deep knowledge of his family lineage, Batik history and the creative development of classical Javanese Batik designs and patterns into an European-inspired Batik Art Nouveau of the late 19th Century; a hybrid Batik style birthed by ingenious female Batik entrepreneurs. Interestingly, what I discovered for myself from his book, as a Chinese Peranakan (Nyonya), is that the very sarongs which my grandparents used for ceremonies were actually of Western influence, not of indigenous Eastern origin. However, having learnt about this, I feel it has helped my roots grow longer. This book has indeed opened my eyes to the wonders of Batik history, as it has for Kees from his mother.

With over 140 highly detailed images of Batiks printed in high resolution, this book, which is written in Dutch, is a sight to behold.

Shuen-Li Spirit
The Netherlands

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