Lot 202
  • 202

Paramjit Singh (b. 1935)

Estimate
12,000 - 18,000 USD
Sold
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Description

  • Paramjit Singh
  • Untitled (Painting in Green)
  • Signed and dated 'PARAMJIT SINGH / 69' lower left and further signed and dated 'PARAMJIT SINGH/ 69' on reverse
  • Oil on canvas
  • 30 by 26 1/8 in. (76.2 by 66.2 cm.)
  • Painted in 1969

Provenance

Collection of Dr Johanna Nestor, Austrian ambassador to India and Ceylon, 1966—1970

Thence by descent 

Exhibited

New Delhi, Gallery Chanakya, Paramjit Singh, 1969

Catalogue Note

Paramjit Singh started painting in the 1950s. Growing up in Amritsar on the outskirts of the city, he was surrounded by the Punjabi countryside. Coupled with his discovery of Rabindranath Tagore's landscapes, this led to his fascination with this theme, a subject he continues to paint to this very day. He first depicted still-lifes, and when he felt the need to move beyond this subject, he began to incorporate objects within panoramic settings, or a still life in the foreground with a vast protruding landscape in the background. These three works are examples of some of his earliest landscapes, nevertheless, Singh only made five of these canvases, and they were exhibited at his very first solo exhibition in a commercial gallery in 1969 in New Delhi.

Esoterical and shrouded in mystery, these hauntingly beautiful paintings contain elements of mysticism and Surrealist fantasy. Singh wanted to retain a ‘Surrealistic feeling’ in his works but also impart a sense of stillness and foreboding, making the viewer expect that ‘something is going to happen’. Singh’s canvases are also explorations of the vast possibilities that lay beyond the physical world. He was inspired by a small movement in Italian art called Pittura metafisica, and in particular the works of Giorgio de Chirico, the founding member. Dream-like visions executed with sharp contrasts between light and shadow, these works had an eerie quality. With a complete dislocation between an object and its surrounding environment, these works transcended any particular space or time. Singh elegantly captures this metaphysical quality in his canvases. When commenting on his choice of pigments while painting he quipped, ‘I used to think in color.’ Most artists would begin by drawing a composition and then proceed to paint but Singh would use color in his mind to build his works and then distribute the objects compositionally. Perhaps it was inspiration from Sailoz Mukherjee, one of his fellow students at the Delhi Polytchnic, that led to his initial experiments with color fields. Singh’s art is significant not only because of its impact on Indian art history, but also its lasting impression on the viewer.

                                                                     -In conversation with the artist, 13 February 2014

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