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GANESH PYNE (b. India 1937)
The Monkey Prince
signed and dated in Bengali (lower left)
tempera on board
20 1/4 x 18 3/4 in. (51.5 x 47.5 cm)

Lot Essay

Pyne began using tempera as a medium in the late 1960's. Tempera is an opaque medium where pigment is mixed with a binding agent to allow its application on canvas or paper. His technique is elaborate and each work is built up through a gradual process of layering the paint onto the canvas.

The image of a monkey dressed as a prince is one that appears in Pyne's work from the 1980's onwards. Sometimes, the monkey is used an autobiographical reference to the artist's own experiences and lack of self-confidence. He painted a similar work in the 1980's entitled Veer Bahadur. Both these images have close personal ties to the insecurities he was experiencing as an artist, that very often left him feeling like a trained animal. He once said, "I am the monkey whose role is to amuse. I am the wounded animal who bares his fangs in protest." (Ella Datta, Ganesh Pyne: His Life and Times, Calcutta, 1998, p. 53.)


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