Puri Lukisan Museum, The Oldest Art Museum in Bali

The Balinese are famous  for their artistic talents and craftsmanship, but unfortunately many of their best paintings have been taken overseas out of Indonesia. Borne out of this concern, the Ubud community together with renowned Dutch painter Rudolf Bonnet built a museum to store artworks, in order to have these treasures remain  in the home country so that the Balinese artists  themselves will not also lose their identity.

Puri Lukisan began as an Institute in 1936 named Pita Maha, that was founded by Rudolf Bonnet and Tjokorda Gde Agung Sukawati (the Raja of Ubud 1910-1978), his brother prince Tjokorda Gde Raka Sukawati,and other famous artists. The Institute counted 125 members who lived all over the world. Activities included weekly meetings with an Ubud painter or woodcarver to discuss their creations.

After World War II, a new organisation was formed named the Ubud Painters Group on the initiative of I Gusti Nyoman Lempad, Tjokorda Gde Agung Sukawati and Rudolf Bonnet. When more and more artists joined the Group, it was evident that the need for a Traditional Balinese Fine Arts Museum became more and more pressing.

Museum Puri Lukisan, Ubud
Museum Puri Lukisan, Ubud (Source : expedia.co.id)

The cornerstone for the Puri Lukisan Museum was laid by Indonesia’s former Prime Minister Ali Sastroamidjoyo. The Museum was led by Tjokorda Gde Agung Sukawati, while  Rudolf Bonnet became its curator. The support given by former Bali Governor, Sarimin Reksodiharjo also influenced the development of the museum. Then in 1956 the Puri Lukisan Museum was officially opened to the public by then Education and Culture Minister, Mohammad Yamin.

The Museum’s collection was started with a contribution of paintings by Rudolf Bonnet, which was followed suit by other artists who supported the museum with contributions of their own works as well as purchased collections. The Museum reflected the invaluable beauty of paintings and sculptures by Balinese homegrown artists. In 1982, a special wing was built named the East Building that displays temporary creations. Today the Puri Lukisan Museum has grown into an active venue for the display of artworks by local painters and sculptors.

Paintings in this Museum include those by the Batuan artists of Ubud that depict daily life but through scary personalities like ghosts or witches. Since the paintings are dominated by the color black they are dark and foreboding. Another collection is that of the Sanur group that are erotic, show underwater life, animals and life at court reflecting harmony between humans and the environment.

The Puri Lukisan Museum in Ubud
The Puri Lukisan Museum in Ubud (Source : expedia.com.hk)

As for Balinese modern wood sculptures, the museum displays creations of Ida Bagus Nyana, wellknown for his depiction of fearsome humans, as well as those of Tjokot, Balinese maestro, best known for his art of transforming tree branches and twigs into ghostly figures and other evil spirits.

The spirit of Pita Maha has been well preserved through the years, generating many new sculptors including I Muja, I Sama, I Sukanta Wahyu, I Widia and many more.


The Museum is complemented with the Puri Lukisan Cafe, which is open from 09.00 am until museum closing time. This secluded cafe offers delicious local or western cuisine, snacks and drinks at reasonable prices. A place that you will enjoy from noon to evening.

Ubud offers a large variety of accommodation options that are easily reachable. Here are a number of choices :

  • Maya Ubud Resort and Spa, Jalan Gunung Sari, Peliatan, Ubud
  • Ayung Resort, Desa Melinggih Kelod Banjar Begawan, Payangan, Ubud
  • Kamandalu Ubud Resort, Jalan Andong, Banjar Nagi, Ubud
  • Bebek Tepi Sawah Resort and Spa, Jalan Raya Goa Gajah, Br.Teges, Peliatan, Ubud

The Puri Lukisan Museum has an elegant and beautiful gallery where paintings and sculptures are well displayed with good lighting.

You may also watch children in the garden learning the intricate traditional Balinese dances, since this venue is also used to teach children from a very young age not only the art of painting and sculpture but also the Balinese art of dance. The Museum also organizes training for gamelan playing, traditional painting, playing the flute, mask painting, batik drawing, wayang making, and sculpture.


The Puri Lukisan Museum is located along Ubud’s main road, Jalan Raya Ubud, in the Gianyar sub-district of Bali Province, some 40 km from the I Gusti Ngurah Rai International Airport. Situated in the heart of Ubud, the Museum is set amongst pools, gardens and ricefields, so that the air here is fresh and cool.

From the airport take the road north pass the village of Batubulan, continue for another 20 km following the road sign to Ubud. While when you travel from Denpasar, pass the village of Celuk, then Mas and Peliatan before reaching Ubud. But when you travel  from Kintamani, then you should either follow the road pass Bedulu or Payangan.


The Museum is open daily from 09.00am-06.00pm WITA local time, with Rp 50,000 per person entrance fee, but  it is free for children below 15 years of age. If you wish to come with a group, best inform the Museum beforehand.

You should contact the following address :

Museum Puri Lukisan Ubud, Yayasan Ratna Wartha, Jalan Raya Ubud, Gianyar.

Opening time : 09:00hrs – 18:00hrs.

If you plan to visit the Museum to coincide with a specific exhibition please check its website: www.museumpurilukisan.com.

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