Lot 100
  • 100

Sadequain (1937-1987)

30,000 - 50,000 USD
37,500 USD
bidding is closed


  • Sadequain
  • Composition No. 5
  • Signed and dated 'SADEQUAIN 1976' lower left and inscribed 'To Abu Shamim ARIF' and further inscribed 'Composition no. 5. / Painted at Lahore / March 1976 / SADEQUAIN' on reverse
  • Oil on canvas


Gifted by Sadequain to the previous owner
Acquired directly from the above


A. Akhund, F. Said and Z. Yusuf editors, Sadequain: The Holy Sinner, Hamdad Press, Karachi, 2003, illustration p. 378

Catalogue Note

A recipient of the prestigious Laureate Biennale de Paris, Sadequain is one of Pakistan’s most famous artists. Entirely self-taught, his illustrious three decade career produced some of the most intricate and visually stunning works on the market today. Lauded for his calligraphic and abstracted figurative forms, his method is distinct from his other contemporaries and unrivalled in the field of Modernism.

Sadequain distorted his figures in an innovative and creative way. Choosing not to go down the mimetic route, he would create rather than copy. Inspired by the great Renaissance artists, he was especially fascinated by El Greco’s elongated and skeletal figures. Even before he moved to Europe, he followed the various Modernist movements and often integrated his favourite aspects of these works into his art. Often grotesque and surreal in nature, his abstracted figures are often lengthened to a point where they lose all notions of shape and look inanimate. The sombre palette of colours that was often the artist's preference, further adds to this conception. Illustrated in the monumental tome Sadequain: The Holy Sinner, this work produced in 1976 is also a prime example of Sadequain’s unique cross-hatching technique. He pioneered this process of drawing fine lines into the paint to create a textured surface. The hatched paint that covers the bodies could be viewed as a depiction of the actual consistency and sensuality of skin.

Executed when Sadequain returned to Lahore, this work is part of an interesting series of paintings produced when the artist explored the relationship between men and women, titled the ‘Encounter’ series. His works from this series often display angular intertwining figures, much like his earlier paintings from the sixties, but with ‘a sombre monumentality […] a certain heaviness in proportion and movement.’ (S. Hashmi, 'The 'Other' Story', Sadequain: The Holy Sinner, edited by A. Akhund, F. Said and Z. Yusuf, Hamdad Press, Karachi, 2003, p. 53)

Although many of his paintings are considered to be claustrophobic, with every available surface packed with lines and forms, in this work, the paint covers the canvas with a clever composition and prudent use of space. The complex ideas of sexuality that pervade his works take on a more literal guise in this beautifully rendered painting about the unification of man and woman.