Despite George Keyt's clear admiration for cubist and fauvist principles, his subject matter was almost always rooted in local tradition, depicting dancers, shepherdesses, and gods, often drawn from Hindu and Buddhist mythology.
In Portrait of Pinnawela Dhirananda, the delicate color palette foregrounds the gentleness and sensitivity of the poet scholar Reverend Pinnawela Dhirananda Thero, his long-time friend and companion. Keyt was heavily influenced by this intellectual, who introduced him to Buddhist thought and Sinhalese poetry.
"Keyt I think is the living nucleus of a great painter. In all his works, there is the moderation of maturity. [His] figures take on a strange expressive grandeur, and radiate an aura of intensely profound feeling." (W. G. Archer, India and Modern Art, London, 1959, p. 124)
For a further discussion on George Keyt see lot 534.