BIREN DE (1926-2011)
Genesis II
signed and dated ‘Biren De ‘65’ (lower left); further signed, dated, titled and inscribed ‘BIREN DE ’65 / “GENESIS- II January ‘65”’ (on the reverse)
oil on canvas
48 x 71 ¾ in. (121.9 x 180.3 cm.)
Painted in 1965
Sotheby's London, 17 June 1998, lot 157
Acquired from the above by the present owner

Lot Essay

Biren De began his career in the arts as an academic portraitist and figurative painter, later moving to abstract forms in the Neo-Tantric style that he is now best known for. De was one of the first Indian modernists to introduce elements of Indian philosophy into abstract painting in the 1950s, and to draw parallels between the physical act of painting and sadhana, or spiritual meditation.

Using geometric forms and juxtapositions of color and light to embody notions of shakti, or the pure energy of a universal life force, De’s Neo-Tantric paintings help the viewer achieve the tranquillity necessary for meditation. The artist’s seminal Genesis series of paintings represent the union of purusha and prakriti, the male and female principles of Nature and the universe. This symbolic union gives rise to all life, represented by the artist’s characteristic spherical or seed-like form. Other paintings from this series are in the permanent collections of the Lalit Kala Akademi and the National Gallery of Modern Art, in New Delhi.

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