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Easel Painting

Easel Painting
titled, dated and signed 'Easel Painting 1989-90 Vivan Sundaram' (on the reverse)
oil on canvas
65 5/8 x 87 7/8 in. (166.7 x 223.2 cm.)
Painted in 1989-90
Paintings, exhibition catalogue, Gallery Chemould, Bombay, 1990 (illustrated, unpaginated)
New Delhi, Shridharani Gallery, Paintings, 1990
Bombay, Gallery Chemould, Painting, 1990

Lot Essay

Vivan Sundaram, the nephew of Amrita Sher-Gil, has been engaged with the Sher-Gil project for over thirty years - as artist, curator, editor and archivist. During the 1970s and 1980s, his paintings employed an Impressionistic technique paired with magic realism, often alluding to autobiographical events or social situations specific to India. In this family portrait, Easel Painting, Sundaram paints Amrita Sher-Gil sitting at her easel, while her father Umrao Singh peeks through a door in the upper right corner. Here, the artist creates a complex composition with admirable skill in the use of perspective, the depiction of light, and the representation of atmosphere. The composition reflects on Diego Velázquez's Las Meninas.

Born in Shimla in 1943, Sundaram studied at the Faculty of Fine Arts, MS University of Baroda, Vadodara, and the Slade School of Fine Art, London in the 1960s. He returned to India in 1970 and continued painting, this canvas being one of his last works in this medium. Since the 90s he has been exploring in various media including sculpture, installation, photography and video. His current solo exhibition POSTMORTEM is running until December 2013 in Delhi, while his solo exhibition, GAGAWAKA: Making Strange was running in Mumbai earlier this year and Trash (2008), was exhibited in Delhi, Mumbai, Chicago, and New York. His solo exhibitions have been on view throughout India, as well as in New York, Chicago, London, Paris, Toronto, Montreal and Copenhagen. Sundaram's works have been exhibited in the Biennials of Sydney (2008), Seville (2006), Taipei (2006), Sharjah (2005), Shanghai (2004), Havana (1997), Johannesburg, (1997), and Kwangju (1997). His work has been featured in group shows in London (Tate Modern, 2001), New York (International Centre for Photography, 2008, Queens Museum, 2005), Tokyo (Mori Museum, 2008, Munich (Haus der Kunst, 2006), Vienna (Museum of Modern Art Ludwig Foundation, 2006), Karlsruhe (ZKM, 2007), Chicago (Chicago Cultural Centre, 2007), Berlin (Haus der Kulturen Welt, 2003), and Rotterdam (Museum Boijamns van Beuningen, 2001).

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