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Details
NANDALAL BOSE (1882-1966)
Bapuji
signed in Bengali, titled and dated 'BAPUJI 12.4.1930'; further inscribed in Bengali (lower center)
linocut on paper
11½ x 7 7/8 in. (29.2 x 20 cm.) image; 14 x 8¾ in. (35.6 x 22.2 cm.) sheet
Executed in 1930
Provenance
Formerly from the collection of the artist
Thence by descent

Another edition in the collection of the National Gallery of Modern Art, New Delhi
Literature
R. L. Bartholomew, ed., Nandalal Bose: A Collection of Essays, New Delhi, 1983, pl. 54 (another from the edition illustrated)
P. Mitter, The Triumph of Modernism: India's Artists and the Avant-garde, 1922-1947, China, 2007, p. 81 (another from the edition illustrated)
S. R. Quintanilla, ed., Rhythms of India: The Art of Nandalal Bose, exhibition catalogue, Singapore, 2008, p. 162 (another from the edition illustrated)
Exhibited
San Diego and Philadelphia, San Diego Museum of Art and Philadelphia Museum of Art, Rhythms of India: The Art of Nandalal Bose, 2008 (another from the edition)

Lot Essay

"I called him Bapu, and not Mahatmaji [...] We have deep love for each other, a bond of affinity has been forged between us, that's all. And this disinterested love shall endure. It is endless.

He is strong and pure, noble and fearless in his concern for doing good to others. He has love for all men, limitless compassion for all creatures, and he has staked his life for restoring a degenerate and oppressed land to its former glory. For even his ignorant adversary he has only pity and non-violence. His indomitable power and defiance of death derive chiefly from his self-possession and complete lack of self-interest.

Anguish for human misery has turned him into an unpossessing hermit working for the well-being of others all the time. He has subdued his senses, and has accepted God as his chosen. These attributes of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi overwhelm me.

What a miracle took place when, yearning for India's freedom Gandhiji went on the Dandi march! The entire country was roused with confidence in some unique strength. Glory filled my heart. I felt blessed and life became meaningful." (N. Bose, translated by K. G. Subramanyan, Vision and Creation, Calcutta, 1999, p. 232)

On 12 March 1930 starting at 6:30 pm Gandhi led a group of 78 protesters on a 241-mile march from Sabarmati to Dandi as a symbol of resistance to the British Salt Law, launching the Satyagraha, or the non-violent, civil disobedience movement. Nine days before the march, in a letter to the Viceroy, Gandhi wrote, "Nothing but organized non-violence can check the organized violence of British Government. [...] This non-violence will be expressed through civil disobedience for the moment confined to the inmates of the Sabarmati Asram, but ultimately designed to cover all those who choose to join the movement." (Quoted in Nandalal Bose, Santiniketan Asramik Sangha, Calcutta, 1956, p. x)

Nandalal Bose immortalized the image of Gandhi's Dandi march. In Bose's first painting depicting the subject all 78 followers are pictured in the background with Gandhi as the central figure, capturing the spirit of the event. Shortly thereafter, the same subject was reproduced as a black and white linocut without the background, simply and powerfully capturing the spirit and persona of Gandhi as the leader of a new movement. During this time, Bose also created several posters in support of the civil disobedience movement but they were immediately torn down and destroyed, virtually none have survived.

Bose's image of Gandhi is one of the most iconic images of the 20th Century; as iconic as the portraits of Che Guevara and Chairman Mao, demonstrating the power of mass medium (printmaking) to mass mobilize. Bose was among the first to recognize that the image of Gandhi alone had the potential to unify a movement beyond the realm of a select few to express the collective will of a new nation.
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