In the early work, expression was all important. I did not yet have the technical means, hadn't developed an understanding of the language of painting. Expressionism appeals to the viewer directly .... Munch, Kokoschka, Emil Nolde weren't painters in the tradition of painting, they were 'gut' painters.
(Tyeb Mehta in conversation with Nikki Ty-Tomkins Seth, Tyeb Mehta: Ideas Images Exchanges, New Delhi, 2005, p. 341)
Tyeb Mehta worked in the film industry before graduating from the Sir J.J. School of Art in 1952. Later the artist traveled to London where he lived from 1959 to 1965. There he remained closely affiliated with the founding philosophies of the Progressive Artists' Group with whom he shared a similarly international and overwhelmingly modern sphere of reference. Additionally Mehta cultivated close artistic associations with the United States, specifically participating in several international exhibitions like "Ten Contemporary Indian Painters" (Trenton, 1965) and later receiving the J.D. Rockefeller III Fund Fellowship (1968).
Painted upon the artist's return to India, Untitled (1966) appears representative of an excoriating cry from 'the gut' in an emotive, painterly style. Drawn from the fervour of Partition two monumental figures sit entwined on the picture plane. Partially obscured by fervently executed brushwork, they emerge from an abstracted doorway at the left of the composition. Born of spasmodic, red lashings of paint the anguished figure on the right directly opposes the central block-like figure which presents an aura of comparative calm. Significantly also a red, central form divides these two separate yet inextricably linked personifications.