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Untitled (The Rumour)

Untitled (The Rumour)
14½ x 12½ x 12½ in. (36.8 x 31.8 x 31.8 cm.)
Acquired in the 1970s while working for the German Chamber of Commerce in Calcutta
Thence by descent

Kolkata, Goethe Institut, circa 1970s

Brought to you by

Damian Vesey
Damian Vesey

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Lot Essay

I work on two basic principles. One is celebration of humanism and two, a yearning for reaching beyond the quotidian and rejoicing in freedom and liberation. — Meera Mukherjee

Borrowing from tradition and modernity, Meera Mukherjee imbues each of her sculptures with a sense of lyricism that transports her subjects from the familiar and the ordinary to a magical realm. The respect and compassion for the common man and the mundane that shapes this transformation stems from the artist’s conviction that art existed in every aspect of daily life, waiting to be discovered.

“Meera’s world in bronze is full of movement. The viewers’ eyes do not only follow the flowing contours of the figures but also the patterns, lineatures and ornamentations animating the surfaces of her bronze sculptures. None of these figures is profane in the Western sense as all of them seem to be imbibed with something of the divine and to pulsate with flowing forces and energies.” (C. Segieth, Remembering Meera Mukherjee, exhibition catalogue, Bernried, 2012, p. 8)

After her initial training in painting in Kolkata and Delhi, the artist turned to sculpture in the 1950s, during her time at the Akademie der Bildenden Künste in Munich, where she studied under renowned artists like Toni Stadler. On her return to India, she was awarded a research fellowship from the Anthropological Survey of India to study folk and traditional metal casting techniques.

It was during this period that she learned Dhokra method of casting metal – also known as the cire perdue, or “lost wax,” method – from the tribal communities of Bastar in Central India. From this method, Mukherjee perfected a technique for her sculptures in bronze that was unique. Her innovative process and approach constituted sculpting the works first in wax and then building up the surface with wax strips and rolls, to bestow a tactile finish to the bronze they were eventually cast in. Despite the solidity and severity of the bronze, her sculptures thus appear delicate, organic and malleable, as if instilled with a natural rhythm.

One of the most distinguished modern Indian sculptors, Mukherjee was well honoured in her lifetime, as the recipient of the Padma Shri (1992), the Abanindranath Award (1980) and the President’s Award of Master Craftsmen (1967-68) among other accolades. We are privileged to offer two works by Mukherjee in this sale including the present lot and lot 99, a poignant portrayal of parental love and protection.

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