Coups de Coeur: The Guy and Helen Barbier Family Collection

Rameshwar Broota

Metamorphosis - (III)

Auction Closed

October 26, 03:08 PM GMT


70,000 - 90,000 GBP

Lot Details


Coups de Coeur: The Guy and Helen Barbier Family Collection

Rameshwar Broota


Metamorphosis - (III)

Oil on canvas

Signed, dated, titled and inscribed 'R. Broota. / Feb.85 / • RAMESHWAR BROOTA / • METAMORPHOSIS - (III) / • 50" x 70" / • TRIVENI KALA SANGAM / 205 TANSEN MARG / N. DELHI - 110001 / INDIA' on reverse

178 x 127 cm. (70 x 50 in.)

Painted in February 1985

Please note that this lot should show a Single Dagger in the catalogue and will be sold under Normal VAT Rules. Please refer to the Conditions of Business for Buyers for more information. Please note the artist’s signature and inscription on the reverse of the work indicate a diverging orientation to that advised by the artist. We are following the instructions of the artist, so please note the lot is oriented incorrectly in the pdf listing of the sale.
Acquired directly from the artist at Triveni Kala Sangam, New Delhi, circa 1985
R. Karode, Counterparts: Recent Paintings by Rameshwar Broota, Vadehra Art Gallery, New Delhi, 2009, illustration p. 58
R. Karode, Rameshwar Broota: Interrogating the Male Body, Kiran Nadar Museum of Art, New Delhi, 2015, illustration pp. 164, 228 

The late 1970s saw the emergence of Rameshwar Broota’s unique ‘scratch’ method. Discovered almost by chance when working on a spoilt canvas, in these ‘scratch’ works Broota would apply multiple thin layers of paint and meticulously etch the surface. With the male figure as his subject – often using his own body as a model – and a monochromatic palette, his canvases became penetrating visions of the male anatomy.

‘The female body/form has been left aloof in the artist’s exploration of the varied readings of the human form. “I wouldn’t know to paint anything but a lyrically beautiful woman so I stay away from the subject,” says the artist. Instead he got immersed in interrogating the male body/form, making it a site for contestation, conflict and resolution, exuding strength against the odds that loom large from its dark surroundings.’

(R. Karode, 'Ape/Man', Rameshwar Broota, Kiran Nadar Museum of Art, New Delhi, 2015, p. 43)

In Metamorphosis III, the phallic monolith which commands the canvas is rendered using the artist’s expert tonality and photo-realistic attention to detail. The form, with its muscular contours and sharply defined veins, is emphatically three-dimensional and reveals Broota’s extraordinary technical skill. The intimate anatomical details, staggering contrast and elegant lines recall the work of iconic American photographer Robert Mapplethorpe, and yet with painted form, grand scale and X-ray finish, remain entirely unique to Broota, a once-in-a-generation artist.