(India 11 Apr 1888 – 1972)
29.2 x 41.2 cm
The robust immediacy, vibrant colours and daring simplicity of form in this painting identify the unique style of India's twentieth-century master Jamini Roy. Born in Bengal, of a typical rural family, Roy graduated from the Government School of Art, Calcutta, and initially produced fashionably 'modern' pictures indistinguishable from the works of many other contemporary Bengali artists. However, he went on to develop a distinctive style independent of the dominant Bengal school of modern Indian painting. In creating his own style, a modernist interpretation of the indigenous folk traditions of Bengal, he was particularly inspired by the dynamic art-form of Kalighat paintings, created in the nineteenth century by anonymous artists as souvenirs for pilgrims to the famous temple to the great goddess Kali. Characteristic of Roy's style is the use of bold black contours to contain strong simplified forms, brightly coloured with the earth and vegetable colours he preferred, imbued with an honest vigour and barely contained by the pictorial format. This painting was acquired directly from the artist in 1942 when he was producing some of his best work and before he succumbed to the pressure of an increasing popularity that forced him to churn out many lesser works.
Art Gallery Handbook, 1999. pg. 295.
Bruce James, Art Gallery of New South Wales handbook, 'Asian Collection: South Asia', pg. 288-297, Sydney, 1999, 295 (colour illus.).
Bronwyn Watson, Look, 'Network for Asia', pg. 20-21, South Yarra, Apr 2001, 21 (colour illus.).
Jackie Menzies (Editor), The Asian Collections Art Gallery of New South Wales, 'Contemporary Painting in Urban and Village India', Sydney, 2003, 54 (colour illus.).