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Details
RABINDRANATH TAGORE (1861-1941)
Untitled
signed 'Rabin' (on the reverse)
watercolor and ink on paper
8 x 10 7/8 in. (20.3 x 27.6 cm.)
Provenance
Formerly from the collection of Nandalal Bose
Thence by descent

Lot Essay

"Rabindranath often begins creating even before the subject has taken any conscious from in his mind. This might easily lead one to suppose that mere craftsmanship or mere architectural design or the mere effect of colours were his end, but when the picture is complete we discover all the essential constituents of a work of art in it, all blended in one subject and pervaded by that rhythm of life which the hand of genius alone can impart. That is why his paintings are always real, though rarely realistic." (N. Bose, 'The paintings of Rabindranath', Visva-Bharati Quarterly, Calcutta, February 1936, p. 31)

At the age of sixty-seven Rabindranath Tagore became a painter. By the time of his first exhibition of paintings and drawings in 1930, Paris Tagore had been recognized as one of the greatest writers who had ever lived and an aura of greatness surrounded everything he said and did.

In the forward to his first exhibition catalogue, Tagore wrote, "My pictures are my versification in lines. If by chance they are entitled to claim recognition, it must be primarily for some rhythmic significance of form which is ultimate and not for any interpretation of an idea or representation of a fact. The only training which I had in my young days was the training in rhythm, the rhythm in thought, the rhythm in sound."

In his essay, "My Pictures" written in 1944, Tagore elaborates, "One thing which is common in all arts is the principle of rhythm which transforms inert materials into living creations. My instinct for it and my training in its use led me to know that lines and colours in art are no carriers of information; they seek their rhythmic incarnation in pictures. Their ultimate purpose is not to illustrate or to copy some outer fact or inner vision, but to evolve a harmonious wholeness which finds its passage through our eyesight into imagination." (Quoted in W. G. Archer, India and Modern Art, Norwich, 1959, pp. 51-52) Tagore clearly identified rhythm as the fundamental source of energy and creation, and harmony in rhythm as the ultimate purpose for all his artistic endeavors.
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