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Item Description:

NATIONAL ART TREASURE - NON-EXPORTABLE ITEM (Please refer to the Terms and Conditions of Sale at the back of the catalogue)

Ink and watercolour on handmade paper

c. 1934

11 x 17 1/4 in. (28.1 x 43.7 cm.)


Gifted to the current owners in 1978 by Krishna Kriplani, who was married to Rabindranath Tagore's grand-daughter Nandita.

For much of his life, despite a deep reverence for all the arts, Rabindranath Tagore focused on his writing. Although the majority of his paintings were produced in the last ten years of his life, he had sketched as a young man and continued to draw intermittently throughout his life. As in this instance, Tagore gifted many of these early works to his family and friends. Towards the end of his life, he became more and more fascinated with painting, and what began as doodles on his working manuscripts, became an obsession. In his last ten years, he is known to have produced almost two thousand pictures, yet few works remain in private hands, as the majority of the artist's paintings form part of the collections of the National Gallery of Modern Art in New Delhi and the Rabindra Bhavana in Santiniketan.

'Although Tagore was untrained as an artist and sometimes referred to his paintings as foundlings, painting also made Rabindranath more observant and sensitive to the visible world. More than ever before, he now saw it as a vast procession of forms.' This new engagement with the visible world found a definite expression in his landscapes, which in turn also linked up with one of his older passions. As a child confined to a large home and left to himself, Tagore spent a lot of his time observing nature through the windows. The world outside then gave him a sense of companionship and freedom, and later when he roamed the vast rural landscapes of Bengal he felt he was in contact with the infinite. It was his lifelong practice to be up before sunrise and watch the world wrapped in the morning twilight. In these landscape paintings done at the evening of his life he more often shows nature bathed in the evening light; with radiant skies and forms coagulating into ominous silhouettes they invoke mystery and foreboding silence.' (Rabindranath Tagore: Poet and Painter, online exhibition catalogue, Victoria and Albert Museum,, London, 2011)

Tagore's paintings can be broadly categorised into three types: human figures, landscapes, and primitive forms that appear to be inspired by tribal and oceanic art. The current lot falls into the rarest category, the landscape. Abanindranath Tagore says of his uncle's work:' has happened like a volcanic eruption ... Just think of it - what an abundance of colour, lines and ideas was stored in the inmost recesses of the heart, for which literature was not enough nor songs, nor lyrics - which had to come out at last in paintings.' (Abanindranath Tagore, reprinted in Bichitra, An Exhibition of Rabindranath Tagore's Paintings, exhibition catalogue, National Gallery of Modern Art, Mumbai, 2000, p. 33)

* Antiquity or Art Treasure – Non-exportable Item. Please refer to the Terms and Conditions of Sale.

About The Artist:


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