Lot 7
  • 7

BHUPEN KHAKHAR | Interior of a Muslim House No.1

1,500,000 - 2,000,000 INR
5,000,000 INR
bidding is closed


  • Bhupen Khakhar
  • Interior of a Muslim House No.1
  • Titled 'Interior of a Muslim House No.1' on reverse
  • Collage and mixed media on canvas


Mumbai, The National Gallery of Modern Art, Bhupen Khakhar: A Retrospective, 4 - 26 November 2003


T. Hyman, Bhupen Khakhar, Chemould Publications and Arts, Bombay, 1998, illustration p. 14
Mirchandani, Bhupen Khakhar: A Retrospective, The Fine Art Resource, Mumbai, 2003, illustration p. 113
A. Jhaveri, A Guide to 101 Modern & Contemporary Indian Artists, India Book House, Mumbai, 2005, illustration p.45

Catalogue Note

When Bhupen Khakhar moved to Baroda in the early 1960s, he shared a flat for a short while with fellow student Jim Donovan in the city's Old Town. With his British roots, Donovan was instrumental in introducing Khakhar to Britain’s Pop art movement, led by Richard Hamilton, and it was this encounter that formed the central core of Khakhar’s philosophy. (T. Hyman, Bhupen Khakhar, Chemould Publications and Arts, Bombay, 1998, p. 12-13) Collages were among the first works of art that Khakhar produced. Like many of his contemporaries, the artist broke with convention in favour of this radical art form, juxtaposing found objects as a form of artistic expression. Khakhar notes that, at this time, collage was “the easiest way, because at that time I had no practice of doing drawings and had never done it.” (B. Khakhar in ibid, p. 14) It would be a few years before Khakhar would make his debut as a painter with People in Dharamshala in 1968. Collages, despite their early significance to the artist, remain Khakhar's rarest art form. An early proponent of the 'Pop' era in India, Khakhar’s works such as Interior of a Muslim House No.1, painted just three years after he began his artistic journey, embody that impulse of a young, independent mind, eager to peel off all that was conventional and established, and re-examine it on his own terms. Here, Khakhar takes on this challenge with a bravura and an unrivalled spirit of experimentation. By integrating found objects into his work, Khakhar champions the Duchampian spirit of elevating the everyday and ordinary to the status of fine art. Interior of a Muslim House No.1 reflects the vibrant colours and bold imagery that Khakhar observed in the bustling bazaars of Baroda, whilst also manifesting the radical vision of Western ‘Pop’.

‘When [these] images were shown in 1965, they presented an ambivalent meaning. Mirrors were patterned with little divinities, cut from the lurid oleograph-prints sold in the temple-bazaars, and then buoyed up with graffiti and gestural brushwork. Sometimes we see a simplified face (two black spots and an upturned crescent) recalling the primitive pats of Shri Jagannath at Puri. […] Was Khakhar sneering at, or celebrating, the imagery of popular religion? When Vivan Sundaram tried an experiment – hanging one of the collages in the Fine Arts canteen – he found it a few hours later, torn to shreds. The illiterate canteen workers were in no doubt; it was blasphemy. In the Indian context, these images were striking, surprising and original, the explosion of a new talent. Exhibited at Gallery Chemould, in the centre of Bombay (at the time one of only four contemporary art dealers in India), they sold well, and gained him instant recognition as “India’s first Pop artist.”’ (T. Hyman, Bhupen Khakhar, Chemould Publications and Arts, Bombay and Mapin Publishing Pvt. Ltd., Ahmedabad, 1998, pp. 14-15)