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BHUPEN KHAKHAR (1934-2004)
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BHUPEN KHAKHAR (1934-2004)

Untitled (Gulammohammed Sheikh with Tom Hancock)

Details
BHUPEN KHAKHAR (1934-2004)
Untitled (Gulammohammed Sheikh with Tom Hancock)
inscribed and titled 'Sheikh and Tony Hankok (sic) Talking of Art and Architecture, RS. 1800 Rupees One thousand eight hundred only Bhupen Khakhar 4 Residency Bungalow University Office Area, Baroda - 2. (gujarat state)' (on the reverse)
oil on canvas
33 x 33 in. (84.5 x 84.5 cm.)
Painted in 1970s
Provenance
Acquired directly from the artist
Thence by descent to the present owner
Literature
Inventing Inverting Traditions, exhibition catalogue, Grosvenor Vadehra, London, 2007, p. 19 (illustrated)
Exhibited
London, Grosvenor Vadehra, Inventing Inverting Traditions, December 2006 - January 2007
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No VAT will be charged on the hammer price, but VAT at 17.5% will be added to the buyer's premium, which is invoiced on a VAT inclusive basis.

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Lot Essay

Bhupen Khakhar's unique and perceptive works have made him one of India's most revered contemporary artists. His international acclaim has seen his paintings and watercolors exhibited across the world, with solo shows at museums and galleries in Berlin, Amsterdam, London, Frankfurt, Vancouver, Delhi and Mumbai, to name a few. Khakhar's portraits of middle-class India are characterised by their complex spatial arrangements, bold use of colour, and dark humour. His works often represent people and their everyday lives, while doing so attempting to capture and reveal the vast loneliness experienced by these figures on canvas.

In 1958, Khakhar was introduced to Gulammohammed Sheikh, a young artist who had recently graduated from the prominent Faculty of Fine Arts in Baroda. While Khakhar was pursuing accountancy at the time, the Faculty caught his attention and in 1961 he sent Sheikh (by then a faculty member) his portfolio to review. Sheikh subsequently invited Khakhar to Baroda and this marked the beginning of a life long friendship between the two artists.

Having completed his training as a chartered accountant, Khakhar moved to Baroda in 1962. At the time Baroda was becoming an important centre for 'New Indian Art' and as Enrique Juncosa points out in his essay: 'The Integrative Art of Bhupen Khakhar', "...the city had given its name to a whole generation of painters - the Baroda School - including G.M. Sheikh, Nalini Malani and Sudhir Patwardhan, as well as the influential critic Geeta Kapur. The work in this large group of figurativist painters is characterised, as the British painter Timothy Hyman reports in his monograph on Khakhar, by spaces filled with figures, meticulous descriptions, the Sienna School, Breughel, Bonnard, Kitaj and, above all, the whole revised Indian tradition".

Khakhar's own figurations drew inspiration from both the West and India. This work features Gulammohammed Sheikh with Tom Hancock (1930-2006), a British architect who was teaching at Baroda during the seventies. Hancock also was a visiting professor at the National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad and the Priyadarshini Institute of Architecture and Design (Nagpur) and became part of the artist's circle of friends. "Bhupen made portraits from memory or relied on his own sketches. Only once he asked me to provide him with a profile photograph of Nilima...which I did, but what he did in the end was something his own!" (correspondence with Gulammohammed Sheikh). Stylistically, this painting alludes to Khakhar's two chief artistic interests: early Italian painting and Bengali pata painting from Kalighat. Khakhar employs the Siennese convention of the background as a foil for the central subject; the lapis lazuli blue sky sets the mood, whilst trees are frequently used in Indian art as a symbol of fertility.
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