The Digital Adventures

Painted in the Tropics

Music: Vincent by Don Mclean

The Untold Story

We know well the story. An artist struggles a lifetime, earning perhaps only a crust of bread, forever on the brink of starvation, never giving up. Then one day, long after he has gone, his works are discovered.

This is such a story of Swiss artist Theo Meier, but it is more than an artist’s struggles and his success, It’s a story of adventure-his running off as a young man and, following in the footsteps of Gauguin, going to Tahiti to live and paint, his vagabonding across the Pacific aboard trading schooners and his living with cannibals in the savage New Hebrides. Then there’s his walking’ across China with an easel strapped to his back, painting warlords, his living on the island of Bali with bare-breast maidens for 22 years and finally his making a home in northern Thailand to live out his years – painting to the end.

This, too, tells in part about the arts of the Pacific and Bali, and you met the expat artists who created them – Walter Spies, Rudolf Bonnet, Le Mayeur, Han Snel, Donald Friend, Mario Blanco, Willem Hofker, Arie Smit and many others.

To use a cliché, Theo Meier was the last of his kind. Truly, there can never be another like him.

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