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The New Infectionism

The New Infectionism

Item Description:

Pencil and watercolour on card

5 x 3 1/2 in. (12.7 x 8.9 cm.)

Signed in Bengali middle right and titled and initialled 'The New Infectionism...ANT' lower edge, postmarked 24 June, 1922 and further inscribed 'C/o Sri Nandalal Bose / Santiniketan / Birbhoom / From a.n. / Tagore' on reverse

From the collection of Nandala Bose's eldest daughter, Gouri Bhanja, nee Bose and thence by descent

Abanindranath Tagore’s paintings are most frequently seen within the context of a nationalist-revivalist art movement which looked to the ancient art of India for inspiration. Although Abanindranath Tagore assimilated much from classical Indian art and was inspired by the myths and fables of India, he was equally an experimental artist using new techniques learnt from Japan and other parts of East Asia. K.G. Subramanyan explains, ‘At a time when one kind of educated Indian was getting progressively alienated from his antecedents and facing the prospect of rootlessness and another kind was trying to fossilise some of these and preserve them unchanged for prosperity, [Abanindranath Tagore] was one of those few who wanted to save them from both extremes and demonstrate that in a dynamic society, the past and the present exist in organic community.’ (R. Siva Kumar, Paintings of Abanindranath Tagore, Kolkata, 2009, p. 16)

Lot 9 in the current sale, a portrait of Nandalal Bose by Gaganendranath Tagore is a clear testament to the close relationship that all of the Santiniketan artists had with one another at this groundbreaking period of modernist experimentation. The current painting, however, sent as a postcard from Abanindranath to Nandalal Bose, provides a witty and lighthearted insight into the academic debate that raged amongst the leading members of the Bengal artistic community as to how to assimilate new modes of expression from both the West and the East into their own art. Here, Abanindranath paints in fractured planes of colour, a style that is most closely associated with the work of Gaganendranath. Certainly it can be no coincidence that the work, which is titled The New Infectionism, is sent to Nandalal in 1922, the same year that Gaganendranath introduced cubism into his own work for the first time. Equally, it may be relevant that the postcard is sent from Abanindranath, Nandalal’s early mentor in the same year that Nandalal himself became the Principal of Kala Bhavan in Santiniketan, and the same year that Gaganendranath and Rabindranath were planning the groundbreaking Bauhaus exhibition at the Society of Oriental Art in Kolkata.

About The Artist:


₹ 6500000.00 ( Sold Price )


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The New Infectionism

Listed price: $2,000,000.00

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