Krishna Riboud: Connoisseur of the Indian Avant-Garde
An affinity for sublime and spiritual abstraction pervades the collection of Krishna Riboud (1927 - 2000) who was a celebrated patron of the arts in France. A descendant of the Tagores, one of India's most renowned artistic families, Mrs. Riboud and her husband Jean Riboud, a magnate in the manufacture of oilfield instruments, were part of circle whose close friends included President Francois Mitterand and Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. Moving to the United States from her native Calcutta in 1945 on a scholarship to Wellesley College, Krishna became entrenched in the New York avant-garde, socializing with Isamo Noguchi and posing for Henri Cartier-Bresson, who later was responsible for introducing her to her husband. Widely traveled with impeccable taste, Mrs. Riboud was appointed to the premier arts body of France, The Conseil Artistique and was also awarded the prestigious Legion d'honneur for her work in the arts, the French Government's highest decoration. Influential in building the extraordinary group of Asian antiquities and textiles at the Musée Guimet, Krishna Riboud's vision was epic. Three works offered at Christie's from her collection reflect the impeccable connoisseurship of one of France's most revered taste-makers.
The reclusive master Vasudeo S.Gaitonde (1924 - 2001) experimented with form and shape in his work. Though the artist disdained the constricting title of abstractionist, his ethereal and complex paintings conjure a veiled and highly codified version of the natural world. Influenced by Zen philosophy and ancient calligraphy, Gaitonde's works have an inherent structure and control in the midst of their stream of consciousness compositions. Unlike his more prolific contemporaries, Gaitonde produced very few finished works during his lifetime, preferring instead a slow and meticulous painting process. Gaitonde's lack of ground line and use of symbolic elements to build his lyrical compositions is reminiscent of work by artists like Paul Klee, Joan Mirs and Wassily Kandinsky to whom he was exposed early in his career. In this work, Gaitonde delicately places a simple series of circles on a plain ground to create his multidimensional and ethereal masterpiece. Through a brilliant manipulation of form, color and technique, Gaitonde has the ability to transform basic elements into platforms from spiritual introspection. The artist positioned two bands on either side of the canvas, a device used in both paintings, in an attempt at both energizing the work and instilling a subliminal depth to the canvas. Using both a roller and a palette knife, he scrupulously manipulates and mixes different mediums on the canvas, building up pigments only to painstakingly remove them for his desired effect.