PROPERTY OF A LADY
Oil on canvas
27 3/4 x 20 5/8 in. (70.5 x 52.3 cm.)
Signed and dated 'Hebbar / 44' lower right
K.K. Hebbar was born in 1911 at Kattingeri, a small village on the Konkan coast in Karnataka, not far from the temple town of Udipi. He moved to Bombay in the early 1930s where he was taught and mentored by the Englishman Charles Gerrard, and in 1938, he completed his Diploma in Painting from the Sir J. J. School of Art.
This early cityscape from 1944 is a charming depiction of Hebbar's immediate neighbourhood in Mahim, where he lived in the early days. The elevated perspective he has chosen allows him to capture the narrow street flanked by houses and small buildings on either side in the near ground, while in the distance, the factory buildings and chimneys that mark the city limits merge with the cloudy sky beyond. His expressionist handling of trees in the foreground are a prelude to the larger works devoted to the beauty of the nature that would follow in the years to come, as are the female construction labourers, that are, in retrospect, instantly recognisable, from the works that he would create shortly after. Mumbai's trademark coconut trees that identify the location immediately, are also visible.
'Hebbar's works have certain distinctive qualities such as linear rhythm, spatial harmony and expressive colours. The themes he chooses are earthy and commonplace, but his penetrating insight, sensitive temperament and consummate craftsmanship transform them into sublimity itself.' (K.K. Hebbar, Voyage in Images, Mumbai, unpaginated)
The colours of the original are less saturated with the browns slightly darker and the mustards slightly browner in tone than the catalogue illustration. The painting has been recently cleaned and varnished. Scattered areas of craquelure visible along the central left edge and in the rust areas in the lower left quadrant beneath the tree. Some fine horizontal cracks visible on the road and in-between the first and second bus. When examined under UV light, a few, scattered spots of retouching visible on the road. Few scattered spots of retouched paint loss in the lowest right rectangle. Overall good condition.
About The Artist:
KATTINGERI KRISHNA HEBBAR (1911-1996)