It was in Ubud that the modern Balinese art movement started, when artists first began to abandon purely religious themes and court subjects for scenes of everyday life. This museum displays fine examples of all schools of Balinese art, and all are well labelled in English. It was set up by Rudolf Bonnet, with Cokorda Gede Agung Sukawati (a prince of Ubud’s royal family) and Walter Spies.
East Building to the right upon entry has a collection of early works from Ubud and surrounding villages. These include examples of classical 16th-century cloth wayang-style paintings (art influenced by shadow puppetry).
North Building features fine ink drawings by I Gusti Nyoman Lempad and paintings by Pita Maha artists. Notice the level of detail in Lempad’s The Dream of Dharmawangsa. Classic works from the 1930s heyday of expats are also here.
West Building has vibrant postwar modern art by Balinese painters.
South Building is used for special exhibitions and contains some museum history.
The museum has a good bookshop and a cafe. The lush, garden-like grounds alone are worth a visit.