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JAMINI ROY (1887-1972)
PROPERTY FROM THE COLLECTION OF MICHEL AND MARIA MAMLOUK
JAMINI ROY (1887-1972)

Untitled (Farmer)

Details
JAMINI ROY (1887-1972)
Untitled (Farmer)
signed in Bengali (lower right)
tempera on card laid on board
22 x 27 ¾ in. (55.9 x 70.5 cm.)
Provenance
Acquired in Calcutta, circa late 1950s
Thence by descent

Brought to you by

Nishad Avari
Nishad Avari Head of Sale

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Lot Essay

MICHEL A. MAMLOUK (1924-2012)

Born in Alexandria, Egypt in 1924, Michel A. Mamlouk was a cosmopolitan citizen of the world. Growing up between Egypt and France, he spoke Arabic, French, Greek, Italian and English. After graduating from Victoria College, Alexandria in 1943, Mamlouk moved to the United States to live with family in Connecticut. A few years into his stay, in 1948, he enlisted in the U.S. Army, serving for almost four years in the country and abroad.

Following his service, in 1951 Mamlouk was hired by American Export Lines in New York City. A few years later, the company offered him the position of Assistant Director in Calcutta and he accepted, moving to a large apartment in Alipore in 1955. Mamlouk was responsible for operations throughout the region as well as the processing of the crew and cargo of each ship that docked in Calcutta.

A lifelong fencing enthusiast, “It was not long after he came out to India in 1955, that Michel began to look around for a way of keeping his pet hobby alive” (‘Foil Fencing Gains Popularity’, news clipping, circa 1957). He began to teach his friends’ and coworkers’ children how to fence and was soon hired to give lessons to the students of Loreto House, a well-known school for girls. His enthusiasm spurred a widespread interest in the sport, and led to the establishment of a fencing section at the Calcutta Racquet Club as well as the Amateur Fencing Association of India.

Besides fencing, Mamlouk enjoyed his free time in India in the company of several of the country’s most elite industrialists, politicians and ex-royals, playing cards and entertaining at places like Firpo’s, one of the popular restaurants serving the Calcutta’s expat community at the time. It is likely that an acquaintance in Calcutta introduced Mamlouk to the local art scene and to the renowned artist Jamini Roy, who presided over it at the time. Over the course of his stay in India, Mamlouk acquired several works by Roy, and we are proud to present this collection at auction and honor his relationship with the ‘City of Joy’ and its rich cultural landscape.

As a well-known socialite, a hardworking executive and the father of fencing in Calcutta, Mamlouk left a long-lasting legacy in India, which is well documented in his 2010 autobiography, Memoirs of an Ottoman Mamlouk of Egypt. Continuing to travel the world, he carried the lighthearted approach to problems he learned in India – ‘What to do? Not to worry!’ – with him until he passed away at the age of 87 in 2012.

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