19 1/2 x 25 1/4 in. (49.5 x 64.1 cm.)
Signed and dated in Bengali lower right and inscribed in Bengali on artist's label and further inscribed '1945 / BANGLE SALER / 25" x 21"' on a second artist's label on reverse
From the mid 1940s (the period of the current lot) until his death in 1966, Nandalals work became increasingly personal and introspective. The technique that he selected for this last phase of his work is that of primarily monochromatic ink drawings otherwise known as sumi-e. He was first exposed to the sumi-e through the relationships and exposure to artists and scholars visiting the Tagore family from Japan. Okakura Kakuzo came to India for a year between 1901and 1902, and came back for the second time in 1912 when he gifted Nandalal a stick of ink from Japan. Rabindranath Tagore went to Japan in 1916 for the first time and later revisited the country in 1924 along with Nandalal. The artist's own friendship with Arai Kampo from Japan further underscored his love for the sumi-e. The spirituality of his earlier works makes way to something which is subtly pervasive in these sumi-e paintings - intensely personal and inward looking.
Over his career he had used variations of styles used by Chinese poet painters called hsieh-yi, and the Japanese pictorial idiom called hoboku. At this stage, however, his paintings move away from mythological subjects to more minimalist works expressed with a gestural immediacy. Even the simplest strokes have a referent in nature, and they are made with the same motivation: seeking to find natures life rhythm. ... Such complexity and subtlety in Nandalal's engagement with Pan-Asianism reveal the very traditionally Indian structure of his life, which began with apprenticeship, was followed by his years as a householder and professional in the public arena, and ended with what amounted to a renunciation of society and a turn toward a deep, inward looking spirituality. (Nandalal Bose, Vision and Creation, translated by K.G. Subramanyan, Kolkata, 1999, pp. 208-209)
In 1944, the year before he produced the current work, Nandalal Bose wrote the first of his three books on art theory titled Silpa-katha. In the book, he outlines his aesthetic theory that is essentially in tune with Indian spiritual traditions. Bose expresses that the realisation and expression of universal bliss (ananda) is the aim of art. He states, the Universe has come out of Ananda. This delight includes and transcends all joys and sorrows. All artists work out of this creative delight; this decides whether any work is creative or not. The purpose of [true] art is to capture that rhythm of delight inherent in all creation, within their movement and measure. In this Art has some similarities with the spiritual quest (yoga). The spiritual quest drives towards the recognition of the essential unity at the centre of the diversity of creation, of the One by which you know all. Art too moves towards the vision of this great One. A Chinese artist has said, In the eyes of a real artist the image of a blade of grass and that of god are equivalent; each can evoke the same aesthetic experience. This should demonstrate how an artist gets at his One. No disrespect is meant here for the image of god; what is stressed is that the blade of grass deserves the same respect. (Nandalal Bose, Silpa-katha, Kolkata, 1944, unpaginated)
About The Artist:
NANDALAL BOSE (1882 - 1966)