Basoeki Abdullah is one of Indonesia’s greatest painters. Known for his realistic and natural style, Basoeki had a colourful personal life, marrying four times; his first wife being a Dutch lady. He died in November 1993 when he was murdered by thieves who broke into his house.
His wonderful painting you can see here (A Nude) is subject to a bizarre mystery that only Indonesia could conjure up. Owned by the Government of Indonesia, the painting was originally kept in the National Museum in Jakarta. But it then went “missing” without anyone realizing it (don’t ask how). Somehow the thieves managed to get the painting to Singapore (again don’t ask how) and it was then put up for auction by Christie's Singapore along with another 160 South-east Asian works worth a total of about $3.4 million!
But there was one thing that the thieves hadn’t counted on – and that was that the secretary of the late Basoeki discovered the theft of the painting after she coincidently saw it printed in Christie's catalogue for the Singapore sale from her home in Jakarta!
The cops were duly called in and Christie's withdrew the painting from the auction. But as for where it is now, well, my lips are well and truly sealed…