55
55

PROPERTY FROM AN IMPORTANT INDIAN COLLECTION, NEW DELHI

Sunil Janah
BOATMEN ON THE GANGES, BENGAL, 1950S
Estimate
10,00,00014,00,000
LOT SOLD. 16,25,000 INR
JUMP TO LOT
55

PROPERTY FROM AN IMPORTANT INDIAN COLLECTION, NEW DELHI

Sunil Janah
BOATMEN ON THE GANGES, BENGAL, 1950S
Estimate
10,00,00014,00,000
LOT SOLD. 16,25,000 INR
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

Boundless: India

|
Mumbai

Sunil Janah
1918 - 2012
BOATMEN ON THE GANGES, BENGAL, 1950S
Vintage silver print
27.4 x 23.8 cm. (10 ¾ x 9 ¼ in.)
Printed circa 1950s 
Read Condition Report Read Condition Report

Provenance

Gifted by the artist, 1980s

Literature

S. Janah, Photographing India, Oxford University Press, New Delhi, 2013, illustration p. 185

Catalogue Note

Sunil Janah, India’s much-celebrated documentary photographer, is known for his moving images of the Bengal Famine of the 1940s. He went on to further solidify his reputation as one of the leading photojournalists of the post-Independence era with his deeply emotive pictures following the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi. Janah worked extensively with Margaret Bourke-White during this period and expanded his social-commentary to a wider audience through her association with Life magazine. Subsequently, he spent many years travelling to remote areas of India in order to record the effects of industrialisation on rural India. His sensitive photographic portrayals of people and his evocative panoramas have been included in exhibitions at Documenta 14, The National Gallery of Modern Art, Mumbai, and in the 2018 edition of the Kochi-Muziris Biennale.

The current lots, beautifully rendered and perfectly framed, exhibit the lifelong influence of Ansel Adams on the photographer. In terms of subject matter, Lot 56 is a prime example of Janah’s later work which focused on the industrial sites of India, the so-called ‘Temples of Modern India’. This dynamic photograph of the Bhilai Steel Plant in Madhya Pradesh highlights the transition the country was undergoing at the time. By contrast, Janah's earlier works concentrated on the human aspect of India. Lot 55 depicts a group of boatmen on the Ganges. The focus of the image is the figures' muscular backs which glisten in the sunlight. The emphasis on the physicality of the men speaks to a key theme in Janah's post-independence photographic production: the human effort required to build India’s new factories and industrial centres. 

Boundless: India

|
Mumbai