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LOT 22

Surya Dev (Study)

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PROPERTY OF AN ARCHITECT’S FAMILY

Welded steel
1967
Height 14 1/8 in. (36 cm.)

Signed and dated ‘A DAVIERWALLA / 1967’ on reverse

PROVENANCE:
Gifted by the artist to the late Tehmasp Khareghat, and thence by descent.

EXHIBITED:
Davierwalla: A Retrospective Exhibition, Art Heritage, Jehangir Art Gallery, Mumbai, February 1979.

LITERATURE:
Dnyaneshwar Nadkarni, A.M. Davierwalla, exhibition catalogue, Art Heritage, New Delhi, no. 56, unpaginated.

For an image of the full-size version of this sculpture see Jaya Appasamy, ed., A.M. Davierwalla, Lalit Kala Contemporary Indian Art Series, New Delhi, 1971, no. 27, unpaginated, illustrated.

For a reference to the full-size version of this sculpture see Jaya Appasamy, ‘The Art of Davierwalla’, Lalit Kala Contemporary 10, New Delhi, September 1969, p. 23.

‘Should Davierwalla stop working at this point, and we know he will not, he has rendered to modern sculpture the service of two or three artists. It may be the poverty of contemporary sculpture in our country that has led him into this diverse expression; but there is no doubt today that he is the only sculptor here to have produced a body of work over the years that is consistent in authenticity and understanding.’ (Gieve Patel, A.M. Davierwalla, Lalit Kala Contemporary Indian Art Series, New Delhi, 1971, unpaginated)

The current work, titled Surya Dev, made in steel and dated to 1967, was created as a study for a public sculpture of the same name, that was originally commissioned for the Ananta Co-operative Housing Society in Mumbai. The full- size version of Surya Dev (illustrated here in black and white), originally stood at a monumental twelve feet tall, but has, unfortunately, now been demolished. A comparison between the current maquette and the photograph of the final image reveals minor differences between the two sculptures. In the smaller study, the legs of the figure are formed of straight blocks that extend outwards from the bent knees. In the final work, the legs are no longer straight, but curved, with the lower legs turned inwards, giving the larger bronze a greater sense of upward momentum. Likewise, the neck of the final form seems somewhat elongated, with slight adaptions to the geometric blocks that form the detailing on the torso and hips of the figure. However, despite these minor changes of form, the maquette reflects the iconic presence that is witnessed in the final version. Furthermore, the comparison provides vital information about the conceptual evolution that occurred between the initial germination of the artistic idea for the sculpture, and its completed form.

Throughout his career, Davierwalla remained tirelessly experimental, working in multiple mediums and styles. The materials for his sculptures evolved from carved wood and stone in the early years, to assemblages of mixed materials in his later career, which included wood, welded steel, aluminium and perspex. Even when his work was created in welded steel (as in the current example), the treatment of the form retained the feel of his assemblage works, where geometric blocks and abstracted shapes were placed together to form a coherent whole. In point of fact, many of his welded steel works were first conceived with wooden blocks and then sent to the foundry for casting in sections which were then welded together. Appasamy explains, ‘... his sculptures are formed by an assemblage or putting together of units. Thus, they are jointed and have a jointed character like the bodies of crustaceans and insects and therefore appear less rigid and more mobile ... In his later works Davierwalla adopts a more abstract language and works mainly in metal. These metal constructions though they seem impersonal and technological have an iconic presence. Through their geometry he achieves a certain harmony and equilibrium... Davierwalla’s art clearly takes sculpture into new territories and towards new horizons. It abandons the old narrative subjects and portraiture in favour of forms which have to be judged as works of art simply on sculptural terms.’ (Jaya Appasamy, ‘A.M. Davierwalla’, Lalit Kala Contemporary 21, New Delhi, April 1974, p. 37)

The works of the mid 1960s frequently make reference to the stars, space or flight and are variously titled, Cosmic Balance, Galaxy, Genesis, Icarus, Floating Figure or Animated Suspension. In these works, Dnyaneshwar Nadkarni argues that the artist intended to liberate his artworks from ‘the necessity of gravitational convention.’ Despite the essentially abstracted figurative form of the current work, the title of Surya Dev or Sun God remains coherent with the more general theme of space and time. The composition too, is suggestive of the creative power of the sun, with rays of light expanding from a central point. In essence, the artist has been inspired by a traditional Hindu concept, but has presented its iconography in a modernist manner, entirely in keeping with the technological fervour of his own time.

‘In the death of Adi Davierwalla contemporary art has lost a sculptor with a clear mind and sensibility. His work produced over the last twenty-five years is a legacy which should be cherished, because it is the work of a pioneer, who went forward free from the trammels of the past. Davierwalla could see that he had to start at a new point, finding his inspiration in materials and work rather than in traditional Indian sculpture, or the overwhelming Western academicism. It is significant that only a man outside the art stream could perceive the need of the hour.’ (ibid., p. 36.)

The current maquette was gifted by Adi Davierwalla to the architect Tehmasp Khareghat. Khareghat studied Architecture at the Sir J.J. School of Art in Mumbai, and designed Ananta Co-operative Housing Society where the large version of Surya Dev was on display for many years. Ananta was the first building Khareghat built in his illustrious career. It took him six years to build the fifteen- storey building at the grand price of forty-five rupees per square foot. Along with the building, Khareghat designed four murals which are on view until today. These murals were inspired by a book on mystical magic practices by Eliphas Levi and explored subjects including the signs of the Zodiac, male and female energies as the centre of creation for the Universe, and all the religions of the world.
Condition: The sculpture has a mottled dark brown and black patina, which varies slightly to the tones of the catalogue illustrations. The bronze has been recently cleaned by a trained conservator and appears to be in a stable condition. Overall good condition.

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Time, Location
25 Apr 2024
India, Mumbai
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[ translate ]

PROPERTY OF AN ARCHITECT’S FAMILY

Welded steel
1967
Height 14 1/8 in. (36 cm.)

Signed and dated ‘A DAVIERWALLA / 1967’ on reverse

PROVENANCE:
Gifted by the artist to the late Tehmasp Khareghat, and thence by descent.

EXHIBITED:
Davierwalla: A Retrospective Exhibition, Art Heritage, Jehangir Art Gallery, Mumbai, February 1979.

LITERATURE:
Dnyaneshwar Nadkarni, A.M. Davierwalla, exhibition catalogue, Art Heritage, New Delhi, no. 56, unpaginated.

For an image of the full-size version of this sculpture see Jaya Appasamy, ed., A.M. Davierwalla, Lalit Kala Contemporary Indian Art Series, New Delhi, 1971, no. 27, unpaginated, illustrated.

For a reference to the full-size version of this sculpture see Jaya Appasamy, ‘The Art of Davierwalla’, Lalit Kala Contemporary 10, New Delhi, September 1969, p. 23.

‘Should Davierwalla stop working at this point, and we know he will not, he has rendered to modern sculpture the service of two or three artists. It may be the poverty of contemporary sculpture in our country that has led him into this diverse expression; but there is no doubt today that he is the only sculptor here to have produced a body of work over the years that is consistent in authenticity and understanding.’ (Gieve Patel, A.M. Davierwalla, Lalit Kala Contemporary Indian Art Series, New Delhi, 1971, unpaginated)

The current work, titled Surya Dev, made in steel and dated to 1967, was created as a study for a public sculpture of the same name, that was originally commissioned for the Ananta Co-operative Housing Society in Mumbai. The full- size version of Surya Dev (illustrated here in black and white), originally stood at a monumental twelve feet tall, but has, unfortunately, now been demolished. A comparison between the current maquette and the photograph of the final image reveals minor differences between the two sculptures. In the smaller study, the legs of the figure are formed of straight blocks that extend outwards from the bent knees. In the final work, the legs are no longer straight, but curved, with the lower legs turned inwards, giving the larger bronze a greater sense of upward momentum. Likewise, the neck of the final form seems somewhat elongated, with slight adaptions to the geometric blocks that form the detailing on the torso and hips of the figure. However, despite these minor changes of form, the maquette reflects the iconic presence that is witnessed in the final version. Furthermore, the comparison provides vital information about the conceptual evolution that occurred between the initial germination of the artistic idea for the sculpture, and its completed form.

Throughout his career, Davierwalla remained tirelessly experimental, working in multiple mediums and styles. The materials for his sculptures evolved from carved wood and stone in the early years, to assemblages of mixed materials in his later career, which included wood, welded steel, aluminium and perspex. Even when his work was created in welded steel (as in the current example), the treatment of the form retained the feel of his assemblage works, where geometric blocks and abstracted shapes were placed together to form a coherent whole. In point of fact, many of his welded steel works were first conceived with wooden blocks and then sent to the foundry for casting in sections which were then welded together. Appasamy explains, ‘... his sculptures are formed by an assemblage or putting together of units. Thus, they are jointed and have a jointed character like the bodies of crustaceans and insects and therefore appear less rigid and more mobile ... In his later works Davierwalla adopts a more abstract language and works mainly in metal. These metal constructions though they seem impersonal and technological have an iconic presence. Through their geometry he achieves a certain harmony and equilibrium... Davierwalla’s art clearly takes sculpture into new territories and towards new horizons. It abandons the old narrative subjects and portraiture in favour of forms which have to be judged as works of art simply on sculptural terms.’ (Jaya Appasamy, ‘A.M. Davierwalla’, Lalit Kala Contemporary 21, New Delhi, April 1974, p. 37)

The works of the mid 1960s frequently make reference to the stars, space or flight and are variously titled, Cosmic Balance, Galaxy, Genesis, Icarus, Floating Figure or Animated Suspension. In these works, Dnyaneshwar Nadkarni argues that the artist intended to liberate his artworks from ‘the necessity of gravitational convention.’ Despite the essentially abstracted figurative form of the current work, the title of Surya Dev or Sun God remains coherent with the more general theme of space and time. The composition too, is suggestive of the creative power of the sun, with rays of light expanding from a central point. In essence, the artist has been inspired by a traditional Hindu concept, but has presented its iconography in a modernist manner, entirely in keeping with the technological fervour of his own time.

‘In the death of Adi Davierwalla contemporary art has lost a sculptor with a clear mind and sensibility. His work produced over the last twenty-five years is a legacy which should be cherished, because it is the work of a pioneer, who went forward free from the trammels of the past. Davierwalla could see that he had to start at a new point, finding his inspiration in materials and work rather than in traditional Indian sculpture, or the overwhelming Western academicism. It is significant that only a man outside the art stream could perceive the need of the hour.’ (ibid., p. 36.)

The current maquette was gifted by Adi Davierwalla to the architect Tehmasp Khareghat. Khareghat studied Architecture at the Sir J.J. School of Art in Mumbai, and designed Ananta Co-operative Housing Society where the large version of Surya Dev was on display for many years. Ananta was the first building Khareghat built in his illustrious career. It took him six years to build the fifteen- storey building at the grand price of forty-five rupees per square foot. Along with the building, Khareghat designed four murals which are on view until today. These murals were inspired by a book on mystical magic practices by Eliphas Levi and explored subjects including the signs of the Zodiac, male and female energies as the centre of creation for the Universe, and all the religions of the world.
Condition: The sculpture has a mottled dark brown and black patina, which varies slightly to the tones of the catalogue illustrations. The bronze has been recently cleaned by a trained conservator and appears to be in a stable condition. Overall good condition.

[ translate ]
Sale price
Unlock
Estimate
Unlock
Reserve
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Time, Location
25 Apr 2024
India, Mumbai
Auction House
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