Lot 11
  • 11

Krishnaji Howlaji Ara

20,000 - 30,000 GBP
bidding is closed


  • Krishnaji Howlaji Ara
  • Untitled (Woman with Flower Vase)
  • Signed 'ARA' lower right
  • Gouache on paper
  • 73.5 x 53.6 cm. (29 x 21 ⅛ in.)

Catalogue Note

Krishnaji Howlaji Ara started his career creating landscapes and paintings on socio-historical themes but is best known for his opulent still-lifes and voluminous female nudes. Frequently, they come together, as in this work. While most of his nudes are often depicted in the rear pose, this one is unusual for its frontality. Ara’s nudes go beyond eroticism; they are in a way without sensuality. Rather, they are a daring study into the very possibilities of pictorial space itself. The lines and curves of the figure echo other forms in the picture place, like those of the vase and the table in this painting. In a Matisse-like fashion, the colours resonate and complement each other, binding the composition into a rhythmic union. The fresh white flowers reverberate the white patches on the vase, the white of the table and the white and red of the wall. The delicate curves of the woman's figure too are evoked through the careful use of white.  Yashodhara Dalmia notes, “The hallmark of Ara’s still life works was the astonishing effect he created in white…If in many ways Ara’s work draws from the still life studies of Cézanne, in as much as painterly depths and volumes are created, the use of white in doing so remains his singular contribution to syntax.” (Y. Dalmia, The Making of Modern Indian Art: The Progressives, Oxford University Press, New Delhi, 2001, p. 133-34) Recounting Ara’s work, art critic Rudy von Leyden, asserted, “With all its various facets, his work has a pervading quality of totality and unity…there is a total grasp of each of his subjects and their moods, a total imaginative creation of reality which is so persuasive that people from all walks of life, from the simple and innocent to the sophisticated and refined, appreciate it without effort….This unity is not only a technical one expressed in terms of composition and correlation, but one of vision and sensibility.” (Marg, Volume VI, Number 2, March 1953, p. 52, 55) This work is a masterful example of that creative unity, a vision capable of speaking to viewers in myriad ways.