Lot 121
  • 121

Paramjit Singh

15,000 - 20,000 USD
32,500 USD
bidding is closed


  • Paramjit Singh
  • The Blue Rock 
  • Signed and dated 'PARAMJIT SINGH / 74' upper left and further signed, dated and titled 'PARAMJIT SINGH / NOV.74 / 'The Blue Rock' on reverse 
  • Oil on canvas 


Acquired by Cecil J. Olmstead, Jr. from Dhoomimal Gallery, New Delhi in January 1975
Thence by descent
Mr. Olmstead was a preeminent international lawyer recognized as one of America’s leading authorities on international law, trade and arbitration. He was named a Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (CBE, Hon.) by Queen Elizabeth II in 1990 in recognition of his contribution to the field. He acquired this work in 1975 during a trip to India for the 56th Conference of the International Law Association held in New Delhi from 28 December 1974 to 4 January 1975.   

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. This painting is an example of his early landscapes from his Stones and Flying Stones period. The dark blue rock centers the composition, enclosed by an enigmatic wall, which acts as a visual parting to the luminous and ominous skies above.
Esoterical and shrouded in mystery, this hauntingly beautiful painting contains 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 expectant 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 colour.” (In conversation with the artist, 13 February 2014). Many artists begin by drawing a composition and then proceed to paint but Singh uses color in his mind to build his works and then distribute the objects compositionally. Perhaps it was inspiration from his teacher at the Delhi Polytchnic, Sailoz Mukherjee that led to his initial experiments with color fields.