oil on canvas
201 x 151 cm. (79 1/8 x 59 ½ in.)
Gift from the artist to the previous owner in 1969
Thence by descent to the present owner
Private Collection, USA

Brought to you by

Dexter How (陶啟勇)
Dexter How (陶啟勇)

Lot Essay

Born in the northern province of Chang Rai, Thawan Duchanee trained under the late sculptor Corrado Feroci who was renowned for his introduction of modern art into Thailand. Furthering his studies abroad at the Rihks Akademie van Beeldende Kunsten (Royal Academy of Fine Arts), Duchanee refined his understanding of Western art techniques of Surrealism and Expressionism, which he incorporated into his works.

Depicting a closeup interpretation of Jesus wearing a woven crown of thorns, Christ is an exceptional oil on canvas work that demonstrates the artist's tenacity in composing bold and powerful pictorial lines with the use of contrasting deep shadow and light. Using small but distinct strokes of paint in different directions and colours, Duchanee gives texture to the figure's facial features and the forbearing ring around his head, adding to the rugged and surreal depiction of Jesus. The artist' s ability to evoke strong emotional and spiritual quality to this revered figure is unparalleled.

Duchanee was known to have intertwined his religion with his art and painted many provocative works of Buddhism throughout his career. When he first started working in Thailand, viewers of his works often assumed that he was a Christian and his works were an attack on Buddhism. Unintentionally, this work resonates with such an important period of Duchanee' s career and what is more unique is the personal backstory that is attached to the work's provenance.

In the 1960s, the current owner' s parents moved to live and work in Bangkok, Thailand through a program that was run by the Presbyterian Church, teaching English at two local universities while also working at the Student Christian Centre (SCC), The SCC was founded by Reverend Ray Downs, and it was he who introduced the present owner's parents to Thawan Duchanee. The SCC hosted Duchanee's solo exhibition in 1969 and becoming friends, the artist presented the work Christ as a gift to the owner's parents. The family has also in their possession, an old photo of the artist and the owner's parents, which they have equally treasured.

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