• Christies auction house James Christie logo

    Sale 2270

    South Asian Modern and Contemporary Art

    19 March 2009, New York, Rockefeller Plaza

  • Lot 1071


    Havaldar - III

    Price Realised  


    Havaldar - III
    signed, inscribed, titled, and dated 'R. Broota Rameshwar Broota Havaldar - III Oil on canvas 1980' (on the reverse)
    oil on canvas scraped with a blade
    50 x 70 in. (127 x 178 cm.)
    Executed in 1980

    Contact Client Service
    • info@christies.com

    • New York +1 212 636 2000

    • London +44 (0)20 7839 9060

    • Hong Kong +852 2760 1766

    • Shanghai +86 21 6355 1766

    As a young painter Broota's anguish at the suffering he saw all around him and his indignation at the greed and corruption in society was forcefully expressed in his early works through colorful and humourous depictions of anthropomorphized gorillas representing the 'pillars of society': police officers, military generals, and the judiciary in compromising situations. Broota's imagery shifted in 1980s from his earlier ironic 'Gorilla Man' to the 'Primordial Man' symbolizing the universal substance of the human being. This particular painting through the culmination of two different imageries best indicates the transition. He uses the image of the Havaldar (police man) allegorically to make satirical and pungent comments on his social environment and systems where the officer in spite of his responsibilities is shirking his duties by dozing off. It was around this time in the artist's career that he discovered his signature technique. Frustrated by works he deemed unsuccessful, Broota re-used his discarded canvases by layering flat monochromatic pigment and through a process of negation, carving images by scraping away the paint with the sharp edge of a broken blade.


    N. Tuli, The Flamed Mosaic, Indian Contemporary Painting, Ahmedabad, 1997, p. 148 (illustrated)
    Rameshwar Broota, Recent Paintings, Vadehra Art Gallery, New Delhi, 2001, p. 30 (illustrated)


    New Delhi, Triveni Kala Sangam, Rameshwar Broota, December 2001