JERAM PATEL (1930-2016)
signed and dated 'JERAM PATEL / 2004' (on the reverse)
enamel and blowtorch on wood
24 x 24 x 1 ¼ in. (61 x 61 x 3 cm.)
Executed in 2004
Acquired directly from the artist, Vadodara, 2005
Group 1890: India’s Indigenous Modernism, exhibition catalogue, New Delhi, 2016, p. 233 (illustrated)
New Delhi, New York and Mumbai, Delhi Art Gallery, Group 1890: India’s Indigenous Modernism, 2016-17

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Lot Essay

Jeram Patel, a pioneer of abstract art in India, was a founding member of Group 1890, along with artists Jagdish Swaminathan and Gulam Mohammed Sheikh. According to his contemporaries, “[…] the eminent artist was a man of a quiet demeanor and a powerful, artistic language that was ahead of his time. In the 1960s, when artists in India were experimenting with form, Patel was pursuing a new kind of medium in abstraction - one that involved engraving on burnt wood that he set alight with a blowtorch. This method later became one of his most celebrated styles, along with his iconic black strokes and saturated shapes of ink on paper [...] For Patel, the process of burning and destructing wood involved plunging into an unknown area and creating something that instinctively responded to his inner creative feelings. Regarding the innovative medium that he developed, he said, '[T]here is a search for the unknown which, I think, has always found expression in my works.'” (T.K.Y. Siu, ‘Jeram Patel (1930-2016)’, 21 January 2016, Art Asia Pacific website, accessed January 2018)

Patel worked as a professor at the Faculty of Fine Arts, M. S. University, Baroda, from 1976, and was later appointed its dean. Throughout his lifetime, he exhibited frequently in India and abroad, most notably at the Sao Paolo Biennale in 1963 and 1977. He also received numerous honors, including the Lalit Kala Akademi's National Award in 1957, 1963, 1973 and 1984. In August 2016, the Kiran Nadar Museum of Art, New Delhi, opened a retrospective of the artist's work as part of a series of exhibition on abstraction and minimalism in Indian modern art, and in 2016-17, his work was included in the acclaimed exhibition Postwar: Art Between the Pacific and the Atlantic at Haus der Kunst in Munich.

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