Lot 9
  • 9


2,000,000 - 3,000,000 INR
2,500,000 INR
bidding is closed


  • Sudhir Patwardhan
  • Cyclist
  • Signed, dated, titled and inscribed 'Sudhir Patwardhan / 'CYCLIST' 2005 / acrylic' on reverse
  • Acrylic on canvas
  • 91.4 x 121.9 cm. (36 x 48 in.)
  • Painted in 2005


New York, Bose Pacia, Gieve Patel and Sudhir Patwardhan, 19 January - 4 March 2006 This painting has been requested for the upcoming exhibition Walking Through Soul City, Sudhir Patwardhan, A Retrospective, curated by Nancy Adajania at The National Gallery of Modern Art, Mumbai in collaboration with The Guild, 29 November 2019 - 12 February 2020. 


R. Hoskote et al, Gieve Patel and Sudhir Patwardhan, Bose Pacia, New York, 2006, illustration p. 46

Catalogue Note

Through his socially-engaged artworks, Sudhir Patwardhan explores the alienation, degradation and poverty of India’s working classes. He completed a medical degree at the Armed Forces Medical College in Pune in 1972, and has since worked both as a radiologist and self-taught artist in Thane. For Patwardhan, the aim of an artist is to be the spokesman of the oppressed. His artistic output is inseparable from his Marxist sympathies for the marginalised underclasses, and he drew inspiration from the abandoned textile mills of Bombay and the exodus of migrant workers to the suburbs. In the present work, a man is shown riding a bicycle in a sparse landscape. His furrowed expression, strained neck and hunched shoulders evidence both a physical and mental struggle. Despite his suffering, the isolated cyclist remains resilient; in accordance with Patwardhan’s desire to paint everyday heroism, the figure is dignified in his labour. In this painting, the artist fulfils his motivation to represent the human condition without losing the individuality of the character represented.

Ranjit Hoskote, in discussing the two professions of Patwardhan, notes their common goal: to understand humanity. ‘… there is no real contradiction between the two roles: Patwardhan the painter operates with the same penetrating vision as Patwardhan the radiologist, divining the inner events of an individual life from the physique that is presented before him, reading the symptoms of an unease that burns beneath the skin and remains occult even to the owner of that skin.’ (R. Hoskote, Sudhir Patwardhan: The Complicit Observer, Eminence Designs Pvt. Ltd, Mumbai, and Sakshi Gallery, Mumbai, 2004, p. 7)