Coups de Coeur: The Guy and Helen Barbier Family Collection

A. Ramachandran

Portrait of Naga Family

Auction Closed

October 26, 03:08 PM GMT


35,000 - 45,000 GBP

Lot Details


Coups de Coeur: The Guy and Helen Barbier Family Collection

A. Ramachandran


Portrait of Naga Family

Oil on canvas

Signed, dated, titled and inscribed '"PORTRAIT OF NAGA FAMILY" / 1984 / 107 cm X 183 cm. / RAMACHANDRAN' on reverse

182.5 x 106.7 cm. (71 ¾ x 42 in.)

Painted in 1984

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Acquired directly from the artist in New Delhi, 1985

“The Naga couple from Manipur is the result of many sketches and studies I made during my visit to Manipur in 1983. I was amazed by the remarkable facial qualities of my models. The children and women with their extraordinary fair complexion and dainty features reminded me of Virgin Mary and the angels. The kneeling image of a bishop with angel’s wings provides the metaphor of the complete cultural conversion of the Naga tribes to Christianity. Thus, started a new phase of paintings with faces after two decades of headless paintings.”

- Correspondence with the artist, April 2019

A. Ramachandran went to Imphal, the capital of Manipur, to participate in an artist’s workshop. As he recounts, the workshop had a profound impact on his stylistic evolution, namely, the human faces which he had abandoned in his work when he left rural Santiniketan for Delhi re-emerged in his paintings. Ramachandran was also struck by the isolation of the Manipur region: “When a small girl asked me which country I came from, I was pained at the realisation of the extent to which these people were marginalised in their own country! When I returned to Delhi, I felt a strong need to relook at my representations of […] wonderful people and decided to give them a face and identity. This then was my preliminary step towards conceiving Yayati.” (A. Ramachandran quoted in A. Ramachandran: Life and Art in Lines Volume I, Vadehra Publishing, New Delhi, 2014, p. 44)