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JAGDISH SWAMINATHAN (1928-1994)
"As a kid I was interested in nothing else but painting, and after matriculation I joined the pre-medical college. Then I ran away from home and college. I found I could draw a cockroach better than I could dissect it. Then I was wandering about, got involved in political activities and then by the 1950s got fed up with the whole damn thing and came back to painting as an adult. How was it that I came out with these kinds of things? These were not a deliberate choice, you follow? I was very suspicious of art schools as well. I studied at Delhi College of Art, for about six months and got fed up. Then I went to Fine Art Academy at Warsaw, but left that also. So you see, there must be reasons why I came to such an imagery, but I cannot say what. You see, I am not one of those - it is not nationalism which is urging me to paint in this manner, it is not modernism." - Jagdish Swaminathan, 4 October 1993, New Delhi
JAGDISH SWAMINATHAN (1928-1994)

Untitled (Bird, Tree and Mountain Series)

Details
JAGDISH SWAMINATHAN (1928-1994)
Untitled (Bird, Tree and Mountain Series)
signed and dated 'J. Swaminathan 1988' (on the reverse)
oil on canvas
29½ x 35 3/8 in. (74.9 x 89.9 cm.)
Painted in 1988
Provenance
Private Collection, Mumbai
Acquired from the above by the present owner

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Lot Essay

"As a kid I was interested in nothing else but painting, and after matriculation I joined the pre-medical college. Then I ran away from home and college. I found I could draw a cockroach better than I could dissect it. Then I was wandering about, got involved in political activities and then by the 1950s got fed up with the whole damn thing and came back to painting as an adult. How was it that I came out with these kinds of things? These were not a deliberate choice, you follow? I was very suspicious of art schools as well. I studied at Delhi College of Art, for about six months and got fed up. Then I went to Fine Art Academy at Warsaw, but left that also. So you see, there must be reasons why I came to such an imagery, [...] it is not nationalism which is urging me to paint in this manner, it is not modernism." - Jagdish Swaminathan, 4 October 1993, New Delhi

Jagdish Swaminathan believed that art belonged to the realms of freedom and the imagination. True art is reality. It does not translate nor recreate reality and it does not aspire to represent or narrate life. Rather, art serves as a form of purity that is at once primal, spiritual and mystical. In the late 1960s and 1970s, Swaminathan began combining elements from nature in his conceptual landscapes. Mountains, trees, diagonally stacked stones and an archetypal bird juxtaposed against broad expanses of colour inhabited his canvases. Untitled (Bird, Tree and Mountain Series) epitomises Swaminathan's paintings; as if suspended in time, the vortex left behind by the bird floats in space between the hovering tree and the stones that lead to vast emptiness. Transcending time and space, the painting's composition induces a meditative stillness and begins to reveal the hidden forces of nature.

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