“Among the few serious, solitary Indian painters, Jehangir Sabavala has an honoured place […] Sabavala infuses a lyrical and exotic flavour into his canvases which are authentic without being patently traditional. His manner of building up his compositions plane by plane and the subtle harmonies of his palette bear testimony to virtuosity and sensitivity of a high order.” (A.S. Raman, ‘The Art of Jehangir Sabavala’, The Illustrated Weekly of India, 23 November, 1958)
In this 1960 painting, Sunflowers, we see a maturing in Sabavala’s interpretation of Synthetic Cubism. In his construction of the picture, he now adds a new dimension, using texture to further differentiate his wedges of color and endow the painting with an almost-sculptural presence. The three wild sunflowers appear to take over the picture plane, anthropomorphically emerging from it and bowing their heads towards the viewer.
C.R. Mandy, editor of the Illustrated Weekly of India, noted that Sabavala’s “dexterity with colour arrangements may be seen in his striking interpretations of the Indian scene. There is nothing facile about his landscapes; they are deeply thought-out compositions which make a memorable impression on the viewer, as was evident when he showed his work in Basle [sic] and at the International Biennale in Venice.” (C.R. Mandy, ‘Foreword’, Jehangir Sabavala Exhibition of Paintings, exhibition catalogue, 1958, unpaginated)