Jeihan Sukmantoro: The Painter of "Black Eyes"

  • Apr 29, 2024
jeihan sukmantoro

Paintings with the theme of "black empty eyes" may seem eerie or even impressive. However, art isn't confined to picturesque landscapes, flowers, or noble portraits. Indonesia boasts a rich tapestry of artistry, where each painter possesses unique and distinct characteristics. Among them is Jeihan Sukmantoro, renowned as the painter of “black eyes.”

Born in Solo on September 26, 1938, Jeihan Sukmantoro has strengthened his status as one of Indonesia's internationally acclaimed painters. His oeuvre invites us to explore the mysteries and depths of the human psyche through figures adorned with deep black eyes, which have become his trademark. With a distinctive expressionist style, his paintings emit a meditative aura that captivates all who view them.

But why did Jeihan choose "black eyes'' as the central theme of his work? According to Azasi Adi, Jeihan's second child, there are three philosophical underpinnings behind his father's thematic choice:

  1. The future remains in mystery, with uncertainty prevailing over what lies ahead.
  2. During Jeihan's era, Indonesia was embroiled in political turmoil. The black eyes symbolize neutrality, signifying a refusal to align with any particular faction.
  3. The figure of black eyes is symbolic of environmental concerns, suggesting that future generations may be forced to close their eyes due to radiation.

Jeihan commenced painting "black-eyed" figures at the age of 27 and steadfastly maintained this signature style throughout his five-decade-long career.

Beyond his artistic prowess, Jeihan is also celebrated as a leader within the arts community. He founded the Bandung Fine Arts Studio as a platform for artists to collaborate and share inspiration. Over 50 solo exhibitions have showcased his captivating works in various cities worldwide, earning recognition from esteemed institutions such as the National Museum of Indonesia and the Fukuoka Art Museum.

Prestigious Awards of Jeihan Sukmantoro

jeihan sukmantoro

As a luminary of Indonesian painting renowned for his iconic "black eyes," Jeihan has collected many recognitions over the course of his illustrious career, including:

  • First prize at the National Painting Festival in Jakarta in 1970.
  • Fine Arts Award from the Indonesian Ministry of Education and Culture in 1991.
  • Adhikarya Nugraha Award from the Bandung City Government in 2008.
  • Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2013 Indonesian Art Awards.
  • Winner of the Fukuoka Asian Art Festival in Japan in 1981.
  • Inclusion in the Asian Contemporary Art Exhibition in Fukuoka, Japan in 1994.
  • Painting Arts Award from The Asian Cultural Council in New York, USA in 2006.

Jeihan's works have garnered international acclaim, with his painting "Moon over the Kaaba" recognized as one of the most expensive paintings in 1999 by the Indonesian Museum of Records, fetching a price of 3 billion.

Although Jeihan passed away on November 29, 2019, his artistic legacy endures, continuing to inspire artists and art enthusiasts. As a painting maestro who infused philosophical depth into each brushstroke, Jeihan will forever be remembered as one of Indonesia's legendary painters. Don't miss the chance to acquire one of Jeihan's masterpieces at Global Auction's upcoming May auction. Stay tuned to our social media channels for further details!

Astuti, T.A. (2024, January 09). Filosofi Figur 'Mata Hitam' di Lukisan Jeihan Sukmantoro. Retrieved from 

Dahuri, D. (2023, December 12). Figur 'Mata Hitam' Karya Jeihan Dipamerkan di Bali Pukau Kolektor Seni. Retrieved from 

Hi, There!

Welcome to GLOBAL AUCTION. How can we help you today?