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It has been the residence of artists and writers including Walter Spies and Theo Meier, since the late 1930s this remarkable house with the amazing view has attracted celebrities and superstars including the likes of Mick Jagger and David Bowie

mount agungBlessed with what must be one of the most spectacular views in the world, the “Walter Spies House” in Iseh has has been a magnet for artists, musicians, writers, filmmakers, ethnologists, politicians and royalty for nearly seventy years. The House rests upon a hillside at Iseh, just eight kilometers from the summit of the mighty Gunung Agung. Bali's highest and holiest mountain and dwelling place of gods. The spellbinding vista of the volcano, together with the powerful spiritual energy that radiates from its slopes, has clearly been a constant source of inspiration for the famous residents and guests, of this extraordinary property.

walter spiesIn 1937, Walter Spies, the illustrious German artist who settled in Bali 1927 until his untimely death in 1942, built what he described as a "mountain hut" at Iseh in Karangasem. Adored by the Balinese, Spies was the co-founder of the Pita Maha artists cooperative, he shaped the development of Balinese art and established the Westerners Image of Bali that still exists today. After Living for nine Years at the confluence of two rivers in Campuan, Spies grew weary of his increasingly hectic social life, and retired to the tranquil mountain retreat that was to become the setting of some of his most beautiful and atmospheric paintings, including "Iseh im Morgenlicht 1938" Despite his desire to escape from a constant stream of visitors, Spies still used to receive guests at Iseh, including the Austrian novelist, Vicki Baum: musician, Colin McPhee: and Swiss artist, Theo Meier. When Hitler invaded Holland in 1940, all German nationals in Indonesia were arrested as enemy aliens, Spies was interned for twenty months, before meeting his death aboard a prisoner of war ship that was sunk by a Japanese torpedo boat while crossing the Indian Ocean.

Theo Meier, as a neutral Country, received permission to stay in Bali. Hhe leased Spies mountain hut from the ruling princely Ksatriya family of Sideman for eleven years. Like Walter Spies, he entertained a great number of guests whenever they stopped over on the island: his pleasure and expertise in cultural matters, culinary delights and all things alcoholic, was almost as legendary as his artistic output. Tjokorda Gede Gangin, the prince of Sideman, has created a greenbelt to preserve the rural farmland and panoramic backdrop of agung.

Tjokorda Gede Gangin lived in the property for much of the time that it was leased to Theo Meier and remembers many of his distinguished visitors, one of whom was Prince Sanidh Rangsit of Thailand. Another was Jean Paul Getty Jr, the wealthy American-born British philanthropist and book-collector, who apparently spent many hours of each day walking through the rice fields an attempt to placate his troubled soul!

It was Iseh that Anna Mathews wrote her riveting novel, "The Night of Purnama", a harrowing eyewitness account of the catastrophic eruption of Gunung Agung in 1963. The House was later home to the Florentine-born writer, Idanna Pucci, and other eminent guests have included Swiss Ethnologist Urs Ramseyer, author of " The Art and Culture of Bali" and also musicologist Ernst Schlager. The Prince of Sideman keeps a coveted photo Album that tells the Story of yet more celebrities who have enjoyed afternoon tea, cocktails, or alfresco dinners on the terrace, including the controversial film director, Roman Polanski, in 1987: Mick Jagger in 1991: the Sarong-clad David Bowie in 1995: and Mrs. Megawati in 1998 ( formal President of Indonesia ).

walter spies house dining tableFor the Last four Years the villa is the residence of Marco Boldrini, from Locarno in Switzerland. Marco describe himself as a "life artist" and shares Theo Meier's passion of cooking. Marco is also an art collector he owns paintings of Walter Spies, Theo Meier's and he has also paintings from famous Bali artist in his private collection. When he moved into the house, it was in a poor state of repair. Marco has lovingly restored it, and furnished it with custom-made tables, lamps, Kartini chairs, four-poster beds, elegant cabinets, and rich silk cushions and bedcovers, all in keeping with the style and era of the building. To maximize the breathtaking view, Marco has extended the narrow tiled verandah to create a huge deck, included a infinity swimming pool with a cozy pool house which has a spectacle view overlooking rice fields to MT Agung. The original tiled floors have been maintained and the bedrooms have been enhanced with the aural aesthetics of outdoor fountains and waterspouts, together with the practicalities of luxurious en-suite bathrooms. The single-story villa is actually a series of linked pavilions built in traditional Balinese Style and featuring ornately carved pillars, antique doors, and shuttered windows. Bedrooms have been given names such as "Waterfall" and the "Eagle Nest" - a romantic sleeping space characteristic by floating, staircase leading up to a cozy mezzanine.

Marco has introduced color, the exterior wall are deep mottled in Italian sienna red with waterfall accents, while another pavilion flaunts a warm orange theme. Large glassless windows capture the mountain within painted frames, and the small room that there is just no escaping that wonderful view! An open air passageway is adored with bell jar lanterns: Koi ponds and outdoor terraces can be found at every twist and turn, the kitchen is located on a lower level and dining takes place upon the deck under the shelter of the tiled roof with a multimedia system which included a big screen with a projector.

Anyone privileged enough to visit the property can expect every sense to be bombarded. Indeed, combined with the intense creative energy and spiritual force of “Gunung Agung”, it is not in the least bit unusual to feel the presence of Walter Spies or Theo Meier within this magical mountain retreat that they both loved so much.

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Auctions & Sales
Walter Spies - Bauern, Erntedankfest ( orig. Title : “Petani / Upacara Sehabis Panen” )
for sale: Adrien Jean Le Mayeur De Merpres [Belgian Painter, 1880-1958]
I Gusti Nyoman Lempad
Ida Bagus Made Togog
Bali Weather Cam
walter spies house gallery


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