A Goat, a Girl and a Tree
A Goat, a Girl and a Tree
PROPERTY FROM THE GLENBARRA ART MUSEUM, JAPAN
Oil on canvas
54 x 72 in. (137 x 183 cm.)
Bearing a label 'Name of Artist: Manjit Bawa / Title of Painting: A Goat, a Girl and a Tree / Year: 1982 / Size: 183 x 152 cm / Collection: Krishen Khanna, Delhi.' on reverse
Formerly in the collection of the artist Krishen Khanna.
Contemporary Indian Art, Glenbarra Art Museum Collection, Himeji, 1993, p. 132, illustrated.
Upon Manjit Bawa’s death, his close friend and fellow artist Krishen Khanna commented: ‘Manjit and I worked in Ghari (art studios in Delhi) together. We used to meet very frequently. And ours was a small group of painter-friends and Manjit was the youngest of all,’ says Khanna. ‘We were all rather different painters, but obviously good friends. I feel very sad. His contribution to Indian art is very unique and I can’t think of anyone who painted like him.’ (Riddhi Doshi, ‘Memories of Manjit Bawa, Art World Mourns the Loss’, www.dnaindia.com, 29 December 2008)
Given their friendship, it comes as no surprise that Khanna collected his young friend’s paintings. Khanna saw the current work at Manjit’s studio just after it was completed. It immediately reminded him of The Sleeping Gypsy, a painting by the French Post-Impressionist painter Henri Rousseau, which Manjit was completely unaware of. Khanna further elucidates, ‘The balloon-like shapes found an easy and logical transition into his human, animal and plant shapes. He was making a philosophical assertion in addition to the aesthetic which naturally followed. He was implying that the same force inhabits all creation.’ (Krishen Khanna, Let’s Paint the Sky Red Manjit Bawa, New Delhi, 2011, p. 101) The work formed part of his collection for many years before becoming part of a museum collection.
Bawa’s paintings are defined by a pure, simple style that use large, flat, saturated fields of colour and bold, fluid outlines to depict a harmonious assortment of animals, human beings and popular figures from Hindu mythology and religion. His works are dominated by colour over detail and form over narrative. The influence of Indian classical painting is also apparent in Manjit’s works. His figures appear like images from Ragamala miniature paintings of the Pahari courts, except they are transposed to a monumental scale. Despite this explosion of scale, his figures retain an expressive and narrative quality that recalls the classical tradition. It is this unexpected balance between the huge forms and their lyrical treatment that creates such a powerful and immediate impact when viewed.
Bawa's choice of colours usually veer towards bright and bold colours, and very rarely would include what he referred to the more staid greys or browns. '...My own idiom has evolved further. Increasingly, I avoid clutter and paint in a style that is minimalistic, austerely. Indic mythology, the epic mythic as well as impressions of life, people and animals inevitable find their way into my canvas and have become my dramatis-personae.' (The artist in conversation with Ina Puri, Manjit Bawa, exhibition catalogue, Sakshi Gallery, London, 2005, unpaginated)
One of the main themes of Manjit’s works, as seen in the current work, is the emotionally charged interaction between man and animals. As Kamala Kapoor explains, 'The balance of whimsical forms, shows Bawa's control of the problems of illusionistic space, figure ground relationships and narrative tension... Like his human figures, his animals, hybrid, fantastical and sometimes realistic and even phantasmic, function as autonomous entities with regard to overall composition. The artist has developed a vocabulary for his images, both human and animal, that enables him to carry the narration and metaphors on their own.' (Kamala Kapoor, 'Manjit Bawa', In Transit III Manjit Bawa Ravinder Reddy, Alexander Ochs Galleries, exhibition catalogue, Berlin, 2005, p. 6)
# Import duty at 10.3% will be added to the hammer price, and, applicable VAT / CST will be charged on the total amount of the hammer price plus the duty.
About The Artist:
MANJIT BAWA (1941 - 2008)