Arie Smit was inspired by the works of Paul (Signac, Gaugin and Cézanne) during his youth. In 1938, Arie was sent to the Dutch East Indies as a lithographer for the Dutch army’s Topographical Service in Batavia, engraving relief maps of the archipelago. Etching Balinese mountains onto maps ignited his desire to eventually travel to Bali.
Arie became the head of the drawing department at the Topographical Service in Batavia after the Japanese capitulation in August 1945. In Arie’s spare time, he crisscrossed Java as a painter, and had his first exhibition in Batavia/Jakarta in October 1948.
Upon settling in Bali after a visit to the island in 1956, Arie captured the Balinese landscapes in its ‘riotous light,’ depicting its villages, rice terraces, palm trees and temples. In recognition for his role in the development of painting on the island throughout the many years, Arie received the Dharma Kusama (Flower of Devotion, a Balinese cultural award) in 1992 from the government of Bali.
The Arie Smit Pavilion opened at the Neka Art Museum in 1994 displayed his works and those of contemporary Balinese artists. Arie’s works were also collected by The Museum Bali in Denpasar and the Penang Museum in Malaysia.