Ubud’s Don Antonio Blanco Museum celebrates the colorful life and baroque-erotic work of Philippine-born Spanish artist Antonio Blanco. Blanco arrived in Bali in 1952 and married a famous Balinese dancer. Set on a hill amid elaborate gardens and an aviary, the museum’s architecture, a hybrid of Spanish and Indonesian influences, is a highlight.
Set in central Ubud, the Don Antonio Blanco Museum is easy to explore independently and advance tickets are not necessary. Besides the gardens and the small aviary of parakeets, which are happy to pose for photos, the gallery includes Balinese sculptures and an elaborate rotunda lined with Don Antonio Blanco’s paintings, many of them nudes and semi-nudes. The artist’s studio is preserved as he left it, complete with an unfinished painting.
Relatively few Ubud tours include the Don Antonio Blanco Museum, although it’s an occasional stop on Ubud art tours and an easy addition to any custom Bali tour. While a well-known artist, Blanco did not greatly influence the Balinese or Indonesian art scenes.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Parents might want to exercise caution before visiting: much of Blanco’s work involves female nudes and topless models.
- The Blanco family are still very much involved in the running of the art museum: it’s not uncommon to meet them on-site.
- Kids will love the aviary, home to a wealth of gaudy parakeets.
How to Get There
Located in central Ubud, up a hill just past the Campuhan Bridge, the Blanco gallery is well signposted for miles around and walkable from many parts of Ubud. There is ample parking for self-drivers, although many, particularly if coming from south Bali, opt for the convenience of a tour or private driver rather than braving Ubud’s choked traffic.
When to Get There
Open seven days a week, including on public holidays—though, of course, excluding Nyepi (Day of Silence)—the Blanco Museum can be visited throughout the year. As the grounds and gardens are a major part of the gallery’s charm, it’s best visited during the dry season (roughly March through September), or on dry days during the rainy season.
Ubud’s Foreign Artists
After the German painter Walter Spies made his home in Ubud in 1927, a variety of foreign artists and painters chose to settle in Ubud, generally in Campuhan (Campuan), with active support from the Ubud royal family, who became patrons of the arts. It was a member of the royal family who gifted Antonio Blanco the land that now houses his museum, above the Campuhan River.