Lot 32
  • 32


2,000,000 - 2,600,000 INR
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  • Sankho Chaudhuri
  • Untitled
  • Marble
  • 27 x 9 x 9 in. (68.5 x 23 x 22.5 cm.)
  • Conceived and carved circa 1960s This work is unique


Gift from the artist to Dr. Amiya Kumar Dasgupta, early 1970s
Gifted to Dr. I. G. Patel by Dr. A. K. Dasgupta circa 1980s
Thence by descent to the present owner Untitled is distinguished by its impeccable provenance having been in the private collections of two of India’s greatest economists, Professor A. K. Dasgupta, a founder of the Economic and Political Weekly, and later the Chief of the Asia Division of the International Monetary Fund in the 1950s; and his son-in-law, Dr. I. G. Patel the former governor of the Reserve Bank of India and Director of the London School of Economics and a recipient of India’s Padma Vibhushan. 

The authenticity of this work has been confirmed by the artist's family


The surface of the work is slightly uneven due to the nature of the medium. Hairline cracks are visible in both sections that are likely inherent to the time of creation. The original plaster along the joints contains small losses, only visible upon close inspection. A small restoration in the upper edge of the pink section has been undertaken by a professional restorer along with a light clean. This work is in good and stable condition, commensurate with age, as viewed.
"In response to your inquiry, we are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Sotheby's is merely a subjective, qualified opinion. Prospective buyers should also refer to any Important Notices regarding this sale, which are printed in the Sale Catalogue.

Catalogue Note

Imbued with an almost human and spiritual quality that evokes a timeless, totemic essence, Chaudhuri completed this breath-taking sculpture conceived in marble in the 1960s when he led a number of workshops on marble in Makrana, Rajasthan. Untitled is an important example of the artist’s mature oeuvre, and represents the genius of the artist at the peak of his career. It marks the central theme of Chaudhuri’s manifesto, “To me a piece of art is no more for worship, nor a nostalgic illustration nor yet necessarily an ornament to decorate a room. It need not be profound or notable. It is the expression of the sum total of a person with all its faults and limitations. Its only value is that it is a record by a human hand of a man's mind, his reactions, fascinations, joy or failure.” (S. Chaudhuri, 'The Artist and Society', Lalit Kala Contemporary, no. 6, Lalit Kala Akademi, New Delhi, 1968, p. 38). Hailing from a body of work in marble, and conceived almost half a century ago, this Untitled sculpture reflects both, a continuance of past explorations and a new direction in Chaudhuri’s mature sculptural practice. Conceived during a time of intense creative activity during Chaudhuri’s sculpting workshop on marble, the two contrasting interlocking marble sections, depicting two figures in profile conjure up visions of eternal lovers in the throws of an infinite embrace. This work straddles a fine line between formality and playfulness, and at the same time strikes a balance between dynamism and gravity.

The simplicity and functional purity of each marble section appears in stark contrast to the shamanistic undertones that this piece broadcasts. For the period that it was created in, Untitled is rare both for the material used, and composition. Charles Fabri in an article has said of sculptors and Chaudhuri, 'The few outstanding sculptors of India today who try to make a difficult living, have come to realise, I believe, that the greatness of their ancestors is not easy to challenge. Fresh creative power is needed, and a bold departure from down on earth realism, always despised by ancient Indian art. The greatest among them, Mr. Dhanraj Bhagat and Mr. Sankho Chaudhuri, are creating memorable works of high originality.' (C. Fabri, ‘Art in India Today’, Design Magazine of the Arts, Ed. P. Singh, Vol. 4 , No. 1, 1959, p. 11)