• Christies auction house James Christie logo

    Sale 2270

    South Asian Modern and Contemporary Art

    19 March 2009, New York, Rockefeller Plaza

  • Lot 1042


    Untitled (Manas Kamal)

    Price Realised  


    Untitled (Manas Kamal)
    signed and inscribed 'H MAZUMDAR R-2' (lower right)
    oil on canvas
    48 1/8 x 24 in. (122.2 x 61 cm.)

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    Hemendranath Mazumdar (1894-1948) is best known for his classical oil paintings. Preferring to work in the European academic style over the nationalism championed by the evolving Bengal School, his work followed in the tradition of Raja Ravi Varma and explored a comparable range of themes centering mainly on idealizing, sensual studies of the female form.

    In the early 1920s, reproductions of the artist's work were published in various Bengali Journals and Periodicals and he was widely acclaimed by the intelligentsia and by art connoisseurs alike. A close associate of Abanindranath Tagore, Mazumdar was never won over by the 'Indianizing' tenets of the Bengal School. In the 1929 Illustrated Journal of Fine Arts, Mazumdar wrote an article titled 'The Making of a Picture' in which the artist defined his working processes as typical of the prevailing academic technique favored by the British: first producing preparatory sketches, then more detailed pencil and wash studies prior to the final, finely structured painting.

    Untitled (Manas Kamal) is an alluringly romantic picture situated somewhere between the terrestrial and the spiritual realms. Simultaneously goddess and mortal woman, she stands atop a lily pond shimmering by the light of a sinking moon. Mazumdar is known to have painted this particular work at least twice as attested by the 'R-2' inscribed after his signature.


    Christie's New York, 20 September 2000, lot 267

    Pre-Lot Text



    K.G. Subramanyan, The Living Tradition: Perspectives on Modern Indian Art, Calcutta, 1987, p. 25 (illustrated)