Lot 130
  • 130

Satish Gujral

8,000 - 12,000 USD
25,000 USD
bidding is closed


  • Satish Gujral
  • Untitled (Man) 
  • Signed and dated 'Satish Gujral / 60' lower right and further signed 'SATISH / GUJRAL' on reverse 
  • Oil and encaustic on canvas


Acquired directly from the artist by Dr. Milton and Betsy Heifetz in early 1960s during their maiden trip to India
Thence by descent

Catalogue Note

Painter, sculptor, muralist, architect and interior designer, Satish Gujral has been described as a true 'renaissance artist' whose work marks a lifelong journey of experimentation within a range of media and forms of expression. Whereas most of his contemporaries left for Europe, Gujral made his way to the "New World"at a time of great social and political upheaval. In 1952, Gujral won a scholarship to apprentice at the Palacio Nationale de Belles Artesin, Mexico under Diego Rivera, David Alfaro Siqueiros and José Clemente Orozco. Siqueiros along with Rivera and Orozco had established Mexican Muralism, a tradition of painting large-scale images of protest and nationalistic messages on public buildings. Gujral's political leanings at the time were to the left so he felt an instant affinity with Mexico's Communist art establishment. He stayed until 1954 and it was during this time that both India and Mexico were experiencing significant social and political change. 'As a parallel set of circumstances, India was emerging from the long shadow of imperial rule, just as Mexico sought to assert its cultural identity against a social fabric wrecked by revolution.' (G. Sinha, 'Satish Gujral, A Singular Journey', Satish Gujral An Artography, Roli Books, New Delhi, 2006, p. 11). Gujral’s discontent with the social situation in India during the partition fueled his artistic output and cemented his interest in the subject. 
The grief of the episode and the artist’s personal experience pours onto the canvas with the typical dark and sombre palette here. The covered faces, veils and long shrouds of clothing reflect those wanting to hide and escape the blight, and the looming shadows and play of light add to moody contrast of the picture. Gujral's firm grounding in applied arts has created the basis for his understanding of medium which he has then used to analyse space and structure even in the most commonplace objects. He also explores the architectonic qualities of form through an elegant juxtaposition of minimalist lines and shapes. During the 1960s Gujral worked with the architect Le Corbusier on the Capital Complex in Chandigarh, India. Line, texture and color became as important as the subject itself. He projected ideas through substance and design to create a mood which enveloped his creations. The artist subsequently changed his style and technique after this series of works but their significance cannot be overemphasized in depicting this horrific time that brought about the birth of modern India and remains as one of Gujral's significant paintings.