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LOT 29

Tourists of Abhigonda

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PROPERTY OF A LADY

Mixed media on paper laid on board
1978
39 5/8 × 27 3/8 in. (100.7 × 69.5 cm.)

Typed ‘7801 / Tourists of Abhigonda / Water color, ink, folded paper / 18" x 40" / 1978’ on label on reverse

EXHIBITED:
Mohan Samant: mixed media works, Pundole Art Gallery, Mumbai, 16 October - 5 November, 2008.

LITERATURE:
Mohan Samant: mixed media works, exhibition catalogue, Pundole Art Gallery, Mumbai, 2008, unpaginated, illustrated.

‘In my painting I have swallowed the entire history of a thousands of years and synchronised it into a modern idiom. Nobody can tell me I am a copyist because I am just as modern as anyone else except that my influences do not come from a contemporary art world; they come from the entire panorama of art history.’ (Artist Statement, ‘Different strokes’, www.mid-day.com, 13th October, 2013)

Born in 1924, Mohan Samant grew up in Mumbai, India. Early in life, Samant realised that music and painting were his calling. ‘Stating, “I don’t want to go to college. I don’t want to work in an office. I want to learn to paint,” he enrolled at the Sir J.J. (Jamsetjee Jejeebhoy) School of Art in Bombay.’ (Marcella Sirhandi, ‘Mohan Samant (1924–2004)’, Mohan Samant: Paintings, Ahmedabad, 2013, p. 187) Samant was also an accomplished sarangi player. In 1952, he joined the Progressive Artists Group and after receiving the Rockefeller Fellowship, he moved to New York.

Whilst there, Samant immersed himself in the Abstract Expressionism that had taken over the artistic climate of the city in the 1950s and 1960s, but his strong fidelity toward his Indian modernist heritage instilled in him an affiliation to expressionist figuration and identifiable forms. However, with Abstract Expressionism emerging as an extremely influential movement, shifting the axis of power over to the United States from Europe for the first time, any excitement over Samant’s unique, non-native style was minimised. Samant shared the same fate as many other expatriate artists, fading from the chronicle of his homeland’s art history. As cultural theorist Ranjit Hoskote stated, Samant was ‘the missing link in the revolutionary narrative of contemporary art in India.’ (Ranjit Hoskote, Mohan Samant: mixed media works, exhibition catalogue, Pundole Art Gallery, Mumbai, 2008, unpaginated)

While hovering between being accepted as neither American, nor entirely Indian, Samant’s talent by no means went unnoticed. He held several solo and group exhibitions, and his works were acquired by several private and public collections. ‘Mohan Samant’s art is colours, shapes, lines, and textures combined to create a sophisticated composition where reality and fantasy play that mysterious game called Life, called Dream. Samant’s art is not incomprehensible; we just have to look at it, individualise its language, learn its alphabet.’ (Barbara Bertieri, ‘Notes on Mohan’s Art’, Mohan Samant: Paintings, op. cit., p. 27)

In the mid-1970s, Samant began experimenting with paper cut-outs where he would ‘rip up, scissor, re-glue, and violate the picture surface into a multi-layered montage.’ (Ranjit Hoskote, op. cit.) In an interview years later, his wife, Jillian, revealed how this new technique came to fruition, ‘ “on a hospital bed when he was recovering from a cardiac arrest. Doctors prohibited him from painting on the canvas as it was strenuous for him. So he painted on paper and made cut-outs of them which he later glued on the canvas.” ’ (‘Different strokes’, op. cit.)

Drawing influences from across the panorama of art history, the present lot, in an assemblage of cubist forms, is painting, sculpture and relief in equal measure. Samant incorporates proto-cubist principles into the ‘cut-paste’ collage format of synthetic cubism, evoking the forms found in Picasso’s renditions of women in the 1930s, particularly of his muses Dora Maar and Marie-Thérèse Walter.

Samant’s works become increasingly multi-layered and complex. Disrupting the picture plane, ‘he collapses the boundaries between painting and sculpture, drawing and painting, sculpture and architecture, and even painting and a prototype of cinematic treatment, most evident in his stacking of a simultaneity of impressions, his polyphonic narratives, and his multiple layering of paradoxical effects in a single frame.’ (Ranjit Hoskote, op. cit.)
Condition: The colours of the original are slightly more muted than they appear in the catalogue illustration. The white pigment to the background board and box frame has chips and losses, especially visible along the upper and lower edges of the box frame. The paper cut-outs appear to have discoloured with age. Fungal spores are visible on the inside of the glass which would benefit from treatment and cleaning. Further chips and discolouration are visible to the back board. Scattered spots of staining visible to the paper cut-outs. Not examined out of frame. Overall fair condition.

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25 Apr 2024
India, Mumbai
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[ translate ]

PROPERTY OF A LADY

Mixed media on paper laid on board
1978
39 5/8 × 27 3/8 in. (100.7 × 69.5 cm.)

Typed ‘7801 / Tourists of Abhigonda / Water color, ink, folded paper / 18" x 40" / 1978’ on label on reverse

EXHIBITED:
Mohan Samant: mixed media works, Pundole Art Gallery, Mumbai, 16 October - 5 November, 2008.

LITERATURE:
Mohan Samant: mixed media works, exhibition catalogue, Pundole Art Gallery, Mumbai, 2008, unpaginated, illustrated.

‘In my painting I have swallowed the entire history of a thousands of years and synchronised it into a modern idiom. Nobody can tell me I am a copyist because I am just as modern as anyone else except that my influences do not come from a contemporary art world; they come from the entire panorama of art history.’ (Artist Statement, ‘Different strokes’, www.mid-day.com, 13th October, 2013)

Born in 1924, Mohan Samant grew up in Mumbai, India. Early in life, Samant realised that music and painting were his calling. ‘Stating, “I don’t want to go to college. I don’t want to work in an office. I want to learn to paint,” he enrolled at the Sir J.J. (Jamsetjee Jejeebhoy) School of Art in Bombay.’ (Marcella Sirhandi, ‘Mohan Samant (1924–2004)’, Mohan Samant: Paintings, Ahmedabad, 2013, p. 187) Samant was also an accomplished sarangi player. In 1952, he joined the Progressive Artists Group and after receiving the Rockefeller Fellowship, he moved to New York.

Whilst there, Samant immersed himself in the Abstract Expressionism that had taken over the artistic climate of the city in the 1950s and 1960s, but his strong fidelity toward his Indian modernist heritage instilled in him an affiliation to expressionist figuration and identifiable forms. However, with Abstract Expressionism emerging as an extremely influential movement, shifting the axis of power over to the United States from Europe for the first time, any excitement over Samant’s unique, non-native style was minimised. Samant shared the same fate as many other expatriate artists, fading from the chronicle of his homeland’s art history. As cultural theorist Ranjit Hoskote stated, Samant was ‘the missing link in the revolutionary narrative of contemporary art in India.’ (Ranjit Hoskote, Mohan Samant: mixed media works, exhibition catalogue, Pundole Art Gallery, Mumbai, 2008, unpaginated)

While hovering between being accepted as neither American, nor entirely Indian, Samant’s talent by no means went unnoticed. He held several solo and group exhibitions, and his works were acquired by several private and public collections. ‘Mohan Samant’s art is colours, shapes, lines, and textures combined to create a sophisticated composition where reality and fantasy play that mysterious game called Life, called Dream. Samant’s art is not incomprehensible; we just have to look at it, individualise its language, learn its alphabet.’ (Barbara Bertieri, ‘Notes on Mohan’s Art’, Mohan Samant: Paintings, op. cit., p. 27)

In the mid-1970s, Samant began experimenting with paper cut-outs where he would ‘rip up, scissor, re-glue, and violate the picture surface into a multi-layered montage.’ (Ranjit Hoskote, op. cit.) In an interview years later, his wife, Jillian, revealed how this new technique came to fruition, ‘ “on a hospital bed when he was recovering from a cardiac arrest. Doctors prohibited him from painting on the canvas as it was strenuous for him. So he painted on paper and made cut-outs of them which he later glued on the canvas.” ’ (‘Different strokes’, op. cit.)

Drawing influences from across the panorama of art history, the present lot, in an assemblage of cubist forms, is painting, sculpture and relief in equal measure. Samant incorporates proto-cubist principles into the ‘cut-paste’ collage format of synthetic cubism, evoking the forms found in Picasso’s renditions of women in the 1930s, particularly of his muses Dora Maar and Marie-Thérèse Walter.

Samant’s works become increasingly multi-layered and complex. Disrupting the picture plane, ‘he collapses the boundaries between painting and sculpture, drawing and painting, sculpture and architecture, and even painting and a prototype of cinematic treatment, most evident in his stacking of a simultaneity of impressions, his polyphonic narratives, and his multiple layering of paradoxical effects in a single frame.’ (Ranjit Hoskote, op. cit.)
Condition: The colours of the original are slightly more muted than they appear in the catalogue illustration. The white pigment to the background board and box frame has chips and losses, especially visible along the upper and lower edges of the box frame. The paper cut-outs appear to have discoloured with age. Fungal spores are visible on the inside of the glass which would benefit from treatment and cleaning. Further chips and discolouration are visible to the back board. Scattered spots of staining visible to the paper cut-outs. Not examined out of frame. Overall fair condition.

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