June '20 Collection
Jamini Roy (1887 – 1972)
Gouache on paperboard
14 x 28 in.
Signed in Bengali Lower Right
Jamini Roy's Six Women represents a stunningly powerful depiction of female forms rooted in Bengali folk culture, one of Roy’s most iconic and widely beloved subject matters. In them, one sees Roy’s masterful juxtaposition of rich earthy colors as well his unparalleled economy of line and style front and center; two defining qualities of his unique synthesis of folk art and Modernism which would revolutionize the course of 20th century Indian painting. Roy’s works possess an immediate and rare vitality, with their strength and popularity owed to the vividness of expression in his conceptual clarity and linear simplicity.
F. N. Souza (1924 - 2002)
Oil on board
24 x 19 in.
Widely recognized as one of India’s leading post-independence modernists, F. N. Souza’s work went through many distinct stylistic stages throughout his life. Untitled, seen here, is an unparalleled example from a very unique phase of Souza’s work in the early 1970s, characterized by an explosion of color and ambiguous forms rendered in a thick, boldly confident impasto not found in his work from the previous three decades. Critics have speculated that this radical transformation in Souza’s work, from his earlier, often grim, subject matter and darkened palette to the frenzied and celebratory use of color and paint and loosening of technique seen here, was likely born from a rare period of personal joy in Souza’s life following the birth of his son.
Maqbool Fida Husain
(1915 – 2011)
29 x 33 in.
For M. F. Husain, the 1970s represented a period of intense experimentation and a transition from his more linear post-Cubist works of the 60s, in which his figures are abstracted yet largely recognizable, to works in which his subjects are not only more abstract in composition but ambiguous in content. In Blue Abstract, we see a single figure, perhaps representing a union of both masculine and feminine divinity, while Husain’s mastery of color and brushstroke comes to the fore in both the background and within the ambiguous figure itself. In his use and handling of strong primary colors in the work, one sees not only the influence of Husain’s early admiration of Paul Klee but also the more indigenous influence of his study of the Basohli school of Indian miniature painting. Indeed, as senior curator and critic Gayatri Sinha has pointed out, and a sentiment that can be directly applied to the current work, “Basohli had a remarkable if short lived efflorescence in which the central figure, of a powerful goddess came to be brilliantly depicted, in striking, primary colors.”
A. Ramachandran (b. 1935)
Dancing Girls (Dance of Monsoon)
Oil on canvas
72 x 72 in.
Deeply influenced by Nandalal Bose, A. Ramachandran makes a strong case for Indian aesthetics and for the use of classical Indian images to articulate an ideological position. Ramachandran initially painted in a more expressionist style that was a poignant reflection of the prevailing angst of urban life. The large scale paintings, akin to murals, consisted of primarily of powerful figuration. His themes and style underwent a major change by the eighties. A tribal community based in Rajasthan with its vibrant lifestyle and ethos grabbed his imagination. Simultaneously, the forms and colors of the murals in the temples of Kerala greatly influenced his mode of expression. A decorative element much like the murals is observed in many of his paintings. However, in most of his works, the decorative element does not stand out; it is intrinsic, built into his figures’ clothes and jewelry as a part of the overall design. Several aspects of Indian classical art have been integrated into his art, including compound motifs and imagery, decorative elements along with the exuberance of forms and colors.
Sanjay Bhattacharya (b. 1958)
Oil on canvas
44 x 35.5 in.1996
Drawing inspiration from senior Bengali realist painter Bikash Bhattacharjee, as well as Western masters such as Rembrandt and Velasquez, Sanjay Bhattacharya is known for his exquisite control of perspective and light and for imbuing his scenes of everyday life with evocative and romantic imagery which speaks to the complex stories of the individuals and families who dwell amongst them, both on and off his canvases. Born and raised in Kolkata, Bhattacharya’s work can be characterized by his masterful realist depictions of interior and exterior architectural scenes taken from lower and middle-class urban Indian neighborhoods and his portraiture of the inhabitants found therein. Confined beautifully encapsulate Bhattacharya’s skill in conveying a wealth of insight into the lives of his subjects through a serene single candid image of their daily routine.
We are delighted to present a small but choicely curated set of South Asian artworks that explore a range of directions that our artists took around Modernism. Each work represents a benchmark of quality that we have come to be known for. We are excited for you to consider them.
Jagdish Swaminathan (1929 - 1994)
Untitled (Bird Tree and Mountain Series)
Oil on canvas
36 x 30 in.
Painted with captivating simplicity, Jagdish Swaminathan's paintings explored the pictorial possibilities of his chosen imagery, which were emblematic of elements necessary for man's survival on earth. Interpretatively, the numerous permutations and combinations of the imagery and the use of bright colors suggested the ascent of man's inner being, leaving behind the chaos and uncertainty of the everyday. Space and color are of primary importance to Sawminathan's practice, as evidenced by his pursuit of fantastically imagined pictorial spaces. By dividing the canvas into bright color fields and then interspersing mountains, trees, stones and birds, the captivating simplicity of his works became emblematic of the subsequent series which was titled Bird, Tree and Mountain. Swaminathan is also using motifs derived from Pahari and Basholi miniatures. Born in Simla in 1929, Jagdish Swaminathan made his presence felt in the Delhi art world in the '50s and '60s mainly as an art critic and theoretician. In August 1962, Swaminathan and some other artists founded the Group 1890, the mystifying number being the house number of Jayant and Jyoti Pandya at Bhavnagar.