GEORGE KEYT (1901-1993)
PROPERTY FROM A PRIVATE COLLECTION, SUSSEX
GEORGE KEYT (1901-1993)

Untitled (Lovers)

Details
GEORGE KEYT (1901-1993)
Untitled (Lovers)
signed and dated 'G. Keyt 79' (upper left)
oil on canvas
40 x 22 in. (101.6 x 55.9 cm.)
Painted in 1979
Provenance
Acquired directly from the artist
Thence by descent

Brought to you by

Damian Vesey
Damian Vesey

Lot Essay

Born in Sri Lanka in 1901, George Keyt began as an artist at a young age, and started exhibiting in the 1920s. Keyt quickly developed a visual idiom that combined European Modernist innovations with the ancient South Asian fresco techniques found at Ajanta and Sigiriya. His earliest work was dominated by lyrical figures free from overt perspectival abstraction. From the 1930s, Keyt was exposed to Western Modernism, particularly Picasso’s Cubism with its fractured planes and multiple perspectives that influenced his aesthetic and is just as powerfully present in Lovers.

Keyt's paintings of women are dynamic and evocative. Their figures have a sculptural quality, while simultaneously allowing line to remain the determining feature. Keyt's trademark eyes, greatly enlarged and almond-shaped, find examples in the traditional miniature schools of Central India, Mewar and Basholi. "The lyric painting of George Keyt is sensuous Indian poetry brought to canvas. Like earlier Indian painters of Rajasthan and the Punjab Hills, and M.F. Husain after him, Keyt takes as his primary theme woman as the focus of man's concern. He paints her in flat planes, with bounding lines and rich warmth of colour. His idiom occasionally carries in it a hint of Picasso but is, once again, in direct line with the traditional styles of Central India, Mewar, and Basohli. But the originality of Keyt's inspiration is undoubted, and his work remains uniquely his own." (R. Bartholomew and S.S. Kapur, Husain, Abrams, New York, 1972, p. 27)
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