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Bikash Bhattacharjee (B. 1940)
Baby Doll
Signed and dated at lower left: Bikash 71
Oil on canvas
48 x 40 1/8 in. (122 x 102 cm.)

Lot Essay

Paintings from this series, one of which hangs in the collection of the National Gallery of Modern Art in New Dehli, have been lauded as Bikash Bhattacharjee's most important of works. Often juxtaposing dark subjects with the purity of children's toys, his works covey both a sense of the fragility of life and a loss of innocence. In this work, Bhattacharjee paints a forgotten and forlorn doll discarded as cruelly as the crumpled paper next to her. The doll is framed by the ominous dark mass of the city and streets into which its absent owner has disappeared. His style seems to capitalize on the idiosyncrasies of photography and cinema, incorporating dramatic cropping and collapsed depth of field. In this work, the doll is literally the same size as the brooding structure in the background, an incidence which gives the work both a disquieting and distinctly photographic quality. While many of Bhattacharjee's compositional elements quote more modern technological media, his technical skill as a painter is impressive. Bikash Bhattacharjee's meticulous handling of paint and color finds examples in archetypal painters like Jan Van Eyck, as he imbues his works with a naturalistic perfection that is remarkably beautiful.
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