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    Sale 11512

    South Asian Modern + Contemporary Art

    26 May 2016, London, King Street

  • Lot 36

    MEERA MUKHERJEE (1923-1998)

    Untitled (The Storm)

    Price Realised  


    MEERA MUKHERJEE (1923-1998)
    Untitled (The Storm)
    10 x 23 x 14 in. (25.4 x 58.4 x 35.6 cm.)
    Executed circa 1980s

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    One of the most distinguished modern Indian sculptors, Meera Mukherjee was well honoured in her lifetime, as the recipient of the Padma Shri (1992), the Abanindranath Award (1980) and the President’s Award of Master Craftsmen (1967-68), among other accolades. Mukherjee emerged onto the Indian art scene at a time that was transitional, full of change and eclecticism. Borrowing from tradition and modernity, she imbues each of her sculptures with a sense of lyricism that transports her subjects from the familiar and ordinary to the magical. The respect and compassion for the common man and the mundane that shapes this transformation stems from the artist’s conviction that art existed in every aspect of daily life, waiting to be discovered.

    Deeply influenced by the Dhokra method of Bastar in Madhya Pradesh, Mukherjee perfected a technique in bronze that was unique. Mukherjee's innovative process and approach to bronze constituted sculpting the works first in wax, so as to preserve the tactile nature of the material upon which she would then build up and add surface decoration in wax strips and rolls. The bronze finish consequently appears organic and malleable imbuing the work with lyricism and rhythm as it captures a dynamic moment in time. The Storm is a whimsical depiction of a group of fishermen on a raft, struggling with their oars, propelling themselves against the natural environment to reach ashore. The dynamic and rhythmic figures exude movement as if entangled in an ecstatic dance. A defining work within her oeuvre, The Storm bears all the hallmarks of Mukherjee’s signature style capturing the energy of the moment with tender and deep reverence for the struggles of the common man.

    “Meera’s world in bronze is full of movement. The viewers’ eyes do not only follow the flowing contours of the figures but also the patterns, lineatures and ornamentations animating the surfaces of her bronze sculptures. None of these figures is profane in the Western sense as all of them seem to be imbibed with something of the divine and to pulsate with flowing forces and energies.” (C. Segieth, Remembering Meera Mukherjee, exhibition catalogue, Bernried, 2012, p. 8)

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    Private Collection, Kolkata
    Acquired from the above

    Pre-Lot Text

    “To my mind every artist must also be an artisan, who brings to his work a devotion which moves him through the progress of his work. Like an artisan, an artist must learn to work without cease. He must in fact work harder: because while the work of an artisan has its well-defined contours, the universe of the artist is without palpable bounds. In it, he is faced, like an explorer, with new regions of experience, which he must chart and gain by means of his own skills and unflagging effort. The problems he will face will not be solved by given stereotypes or formulae learnt by heart. The solutions he will have to find by his own struggle with ideas, materials and tools. For the artist it will be a ceaseless, life-long struggle.” – Meera Mukherjee, ‘Methods in Creative Sculpture’