Lot 119
  • 119

Ganesh Pyne

30,000 - 50,000 USD
87,500 USD
bidding is closed


  • Ganesh Pyne
  • Untitled (Krishna with Flute)
  • Signed and dated in Bengali lower left 
  • Ink and tempera on paper 


Chester and Davida Herwitz Collection
Sotheby's New York, Contemporary Paintings from the Chester and Davida Herwitz Charitable Trust, Part II, 3 April 1996, lot 31

Catalogue Note

This alluring work on paper is an exquisite example of the melancholic paintings laden with symbolism, executed by Ganesh Pyne in his prime years where he masterfully layers his brushstrokes and washes with precision. This is an evening scene in which the façade of the stone building is brilliantly scattered with the interplay of light and shadow, creating the illusion of dancing shapes in the night. Krishna playing the flute emerges from a tunneled opening.
Known for the dreamlike and theatrical quality of his work, Pyne's early influences included the lyrical compositions of the Bengal School, and particularly the brothers Abanindranath and Gagendranath Tagore, whose artwork played a fundamental role in the visual culture of early twentieth century Bengal. His choice of theme also stems from his love of traditional Indian folktales, which his grandmother would entertain him with as a child. Like many of Pyne’s figures, Krishna's limbs are wooden and seemingly immobile, this coupled with his broad elongated eyes peering out of the darkness gives the picture a haunting ambiance.  This purposeful lack of dynamism is counterbalanced by the expansive grace of a pale and earthly palette, creating a luminous effect. Pyne's figures are usually anonymous thereby symbolizing the universal. The depiction of Krishna is therefore a significant departure from his figures of children, mystical creatures or luminous goddesses, all of which hearken back to remnants of childhood memories.