Dr. Maria Wronska-Friend, an Australian anthropologist and museum curator, will give a talk about Javanese batik as inspiration to European art in the late 19th and early 20th century.
Batik, the technique of patterning cloth through the application of wax, reached the highest level of complexity on the Indonesian island of Java. At the beginning of the 20th century the technique was introduced to Europe where it became a distinctive feature of Art Nouveau and Art Deco design.
The first experiments took place in the Netherlands around 1890 when a group of young artists introduced the Javanese method of wax-resist dyeing to textiles and objects of interior decoration. After 1900 batik started to be practised all over Europe, especially in Germany, France, Poland and UK. Its popularity lasted almost four decades. It is estimated that during the years 1890-1930 several thousand of European craftsmen, designers and artists used the Javanese method of decoration to apply hand-drawn wax to cloth, wood, ceramics, parchment and other materials.
The impact went beyond the technique. The intense fascination with batik resulted in the introduction of Javanese motifs and aesthetics into fashion and the works of European artists and designers such as Henry van de Velde, Charles Rennie Mackintosh and Henri Matisse.
To see Dr. Wronska-Friend’s short CV, click here. In October 2018 Dr. Wronska-Friend gave a lecture on batik at the Textile Museum in Washington D.C. Following the lecture, she was invited for an interview by the Indonesian Embassy in Washington D.C. Click here to watch her interview.