Upcoming Auctions and Events

Global notice COVID-19 Important notice
AKBAR PADAMSEE (B. 1928)
PROPERTY FROM THE COLLECTION OF A GENTLEMAN
AKBAR PADAMSEE (B. 1928)

Untitled (Metascape)

Details
AKBAR PADAMSEE (B. 1928)
Untitled (Metascape)
signed and dated ‘PADAMSEE 73’ (upper left)
oil on canvas
48 x 72 in. (121.9 x 182.9 cm.)
Painted in 1973
Provenance
Pundole Art Gallery, Mumbai
Acquired from the above by the present owner, circa 1970s

Brought to you by

Umah Jacob
Umah Jacob

Lot Essay

"The pictorial features of the hill, the river, the trees do not interest the painter. The intention in these vast panoramas is to arrive at the fundamentals of nature. He seems interested in the total rhythm which moves and animates the universe. The streak of a blood-red river moves across a brown mountainside. Tress stand row upon row, in tones of reds, blues, greens and browns. The shimmering quality of white light flows through a valley, creating a feeling as though the whole earth moves with light." - [Akbar Padamsee] Times of India, 2 February 1974

Akbar Padamsee’s series of Metascapes, begun in the early 1970s, represent the artist’s long, unique involvement with the genre of landscape. In these paintings, Padamsee is concerned with the mythic or archetypal landscape, which is expressed visually by a stringent ordering of timeless elements, such as the earth, the sun and the moon, in temporal space. “Rather than an intent to describe the natural world per se, the artist’s object was the total conceptual and metaphysical ken of his visual environment, with his paintings impressing an immediate perceptual experience that relied on expression and sensation rather than realist recognition.” (B. Citron, Akbar Padamsee, Work in Language, Mumbai, 2010, p. 195)

The use of a bold palette, and the importance the artist places on texture and construction, complements his choice of landscape as subject, their earthy tones heightened with swathes of vibrant red and blue. The colours evoke a sense of movement in an unmoving space; one without any specific chronology or geography. Speaking about his palette, the artist states, “[...] colours expand and contract, colours travel on the surface of the static painting [...] colour trajectory is strategy [...] A colourist needs to master the art of silencing some colours, so as to render others eloquent.” (Artist statement, India Myth and Reality, Aspects of Modern Indian Art, Oxford, 1982, p. 17)

This large canvas from 1973, with its deep crimson horizon, is one of the earliest metascapes painted by Padamsee, and was likely part of the first exhibition of these works at Pundole Gallery, Mumbai, in 1974. Summing up their nature, Yashodhara Dalmia describes these expansive paintings as “[...] brilliantly choreographed planes of light and dark made in thick impasto which evoke mountains, field, sky and water. The controlled cadence of the colours breaks into a throbbing intensity as the artist in his most masterly works, evokes infinite time and space.” (Y. Dalmia, Indian Contemporary Art Post Independence, New Delhi, 1997, p. 17)

More from The India Sale - South Asian Modern + Contemporary Art

View All
View All