In 1959 Tyeb Mehta left India for England where he lived for five years. His paintings from this period were influenced by European expressionism and are executed in somber colors applied with a palette knife. On his return to India in 1964 his works underwent a considerable change, the gloomy palette and textured surfaces were replaced by flat planes of color in richer hues. The current work painted in 1967 is a rare example of this transitional phase between the isolated figures of his early works and the dismembered figures that begin to appear in the Diagonal Series of the early 1970s. Although the use of the diagonal line is formalized within his works of the 1970s, one sees the gestation of this concept within the current work.
Tyeb's paintings 'create an ethos of brooding, sombre consciousness for which there is no equivalent, so far as I know, in modern Indian painting. These are paintings that pose unanswered and unanswerable questions about the human condition...That is their moral authority.' (N. Ezekiel, Tyeb Mehta, Kunika-Chemould Art Center Exhibition Catalogue, 1970).
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