Rudolf Bonnet was born in Amsterdam, in 1895. After highschool he attended the Rijksacademie voor Beeldende Kunst in Amsterdam. Soon after finishing the art academy he left the Netherlands to go to Italy, where he stayed several years in Anticoli Corrado, south of Rome. In Rome he met the Dutch artist W.O.J.Nieuwenkamp, drawer of pendrawings of Balinese village life and culture. Bonnet was excited and boarded in 1928 the steamer Jan Pieterszoon Coen, bound for the Dutch East Indies (Indonesia). After several stopovers, including in Nias, he arrived in Bali in 1929. Bonnet fell in love with the island, the local population and Balinese art, and would remain here for most of his life. The first Balinese art Bonnet encountered was what is now called ‘traditional Balinese art’, the production of which was centred in Kamasan, close to Klungkung. Signs of change were already evident. Local artists came in contact with new concepts and styles through the increasing number of tourists visiting the island and the growing number of musicians and anthropologists keen to do research in Bali. In the 1930s, the changes to Balinese visual arts rapidly accelerated.

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