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PROPERTY FROM THE FAMILY COLLECTION OF VIJAYA LAKSHMI NEHRU PANDIT

Jehangir Sabavala
THE INTANGIBLE MENACE
SALTAR AL LOTE
56

PROPERTY FROM THE FAMILY COLLECTION OF VIJAYA LAKSHMI NEHRU PANDIT

Jehangir Sabavala
THE INTANGIBLE MENACE
SALTAR AL LOTE

Details & Cataloguing

Modern and Contemporary South Asian Art

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Jehangir Sabavala
1922 - 2011
THE INTANGIBLE MENACE
Signed and dated 'Sabavala 63' lower right and further signed, dated and titled "'The Intangible Menace" / By Jehangir Sabavala / B'bay '63' on reverse

Bearing Lalit Kala Akademi label on reverse


Oil on canvas
82 x 95 cm. (32 ¼ x 37 ⅜ in.)
Painted in 1963
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Procedencia

From the collection of Vijaya Lakshmi Nehru Pandit (1900-1990), who acquired the painting when she was Governor of Maharashtra, from 1962-64. She resigned her position as Governor in 1964 when her brother, Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru died, in order to stand for election to Parliament (Lok Sabha) from his constituency, Phulpur in Allahabad. The painting hung in Raj Bhavan, Bombay, while she was Governor, and thereafter in her Dehradun home. 

Documentación

Sabavala, Sadanga Series by Vakil & Sons Pvt. Ltd., Mumbai, 1966, illustration p. 39 

R. Hoskote, Pilgrim, Exile, Sorcerer, The Painterly Evolution of Jehangir Sabavala, Eminence Designs Pvt. Ltd., Mumbai, 1998, illustration p. 14 

Nota del catálogo

Born in 1922 into one of the most influential families of Raj-era Bombay, Jehangir Sabavala rose to prominence as a painter in the early 1950s, at a moment when European Modernism was sweeping across the international art scene and imparting an avant-garde zeal and fervour upon the Indian subcontinent. The conflicts and challenges faced by post-War Europe and post-Independence India, informed by the artists and collectors with a foot on both continents, gave rise to the Indian avant-garde establishment, of which Sabavala was a member. Throughout the 1950s, Sabavala experimented with the plasticity of Synthetic Cubism. Executed in 1963, The Intangible Menace represents the further development of his cubist style. As Ranjit Hoskote explains 'Between 1961 and 1964, Sabavala attempted to break away from the suffocating formality of Synthetic Cubism; and in this, he found a remedial alternative in the work of Lyonel Feininger, who had died in 1956. Moving gradually from [André] Lhote's austerity of line to Feininger's glissando Cubism, he softened paintings; the indispensable presence of illumination became his subject: "Through Feininger's pure, precise and yet very delicate and personal renderings of cloud and boat and sea, I discovered the joys of extending form into the beauty and clarity of light. I became interested in the source of light, its direction, its effect. Through these experiments, gradually, my work changed... He taught me to humanise the implicit perfection, the razor-sharp clarity of my own Cubism; to bring to it a luminosity, a softer radiance which is now beginning to pervade my canvasses. It is as if, of a sudden, you were seeing the sun or the moon, a star of a cloud-bank for the first time." (R. Hoskote, Pilgrim, Exile, Sorcerer, The Painterly Evolution of Jehangir Sabavala, Eminence Designs Pvt. Ltd., Mumbai, 1998, p. 89). This softening and humanising of Sabavala's approach to Cubism is also seen in other canvases from 1963 such as Golden Flight and The Thundercloud. 

Speaking about Sabavala's work from the early 1960s, in particular The Intangible Menace, art critic S.V. Vasudev comments on the artist's sophisticated and subtle use of colour, 'The delicacy in applying colours wherever the rarified atmosphere is to be captured, the repeated search for forms seeking release in foreboding skies and seas, the undefined mood, suggest a certain turmoil in the artist’s mind. But one is aware all the time of Sabavala’s attempt to enrich and enliven his palette on a note of subtlety of broken and combined tones, assisted by ingenious brushwork' (Sabavala, Sadanga Series by Vakil & Sons Pvt. Ltd., Mumbai, 1966, p. 45).

Modern and Contemporary South Asian Art

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Londres