Jamini Roy (1887-1972)
- Jamini Roy
Woman with her hand on her cheek; Woman's face
Each signed in Bengali lower right and inscribed in Bengali on reverse
- Tempera on card
As a young artist Jamini Roy spent many years mastering the tenets of European Academic painting but by the mid-1920's he began to draw inspiration from indigenous folk traditions. He was inspired by the minimalist style of the Kalighat tradition and by the mid-1930's he had followed the Kalighat idiom back to its original source, the Pata paintings of rural Bengal. The soft curvilinear strokes of the current two works relate to this Kalighat style which was then replaced by a more angular and geometric approach that can be seen in lot 1 and lot 2. The contours in these later works are shallower and the eyes of the figures are sharper with pointed ends. Multiple figures are arranged frontally in friezes, or one behind the other in balanced groups. The surface of the painting also becomes scattered with decorative symbols, floral motifs, short wavy lines and daubs of color linked together by swooping arcs.
In keeping with the spirit of folk artists, Roy abandoned his use of European paints in favor of mineral and vegetable dyes that his studio produced themselves. He moved towards the traditional Indian model of an artisan's workshop by employing junior artists to work for him. At the same time he became more strongly influenced by Brata art, the ritual paintings on the mud walls of domestic buildings in rural India. The ritually potent symbols of these agricultural communities thus became the trademarks of Roy's unique contribution to the Indian modernist movement.