Property of a US Collector
1928 - 1994
Oil on canvas
Signed and dated 'J. Swaminathan ' / 89' on reverse
36 x 29 ⅞ in. (91.4 x 75.8 cm.)
Framed: 37 ⅝ x 31 ⅝ in. (95.5 x 80.3 cm.)
Painted in 1989
“Thus a mountain, a tree, a flower, a bird, a stone were not just objects or parts of a landscape but were manifestations of the universal.”
- Jagdish Swaminathan
(J. Swaminathan, Artist statement, 'Modern Indian Art: the Visible and The Possible', Lalit Kala Contemporary 40, New Delhi, 1995, p. 49)
With elegant bird, solitary tree, and undulating slopes, this vibrant 1989 painting is emblematic of the captivating simplicity of Jagdish Swaminathan’s Bird, Tree and Mountain series. The canvas is crisply divided into color fields, where perfect, featureless planes of brilliant red and muted yellow are accompanied by mottled green mountains and a striated hillscape. The richly saturated palette, flat picture plane and verdant imagery, demonstrate the artist’s proclivity to the methods of Pahari and Basholi miniature painting. Here, however, these elements of the miniature tradition have been re-imagined through a distinctly modern and Surrealist lens.
With fantastic coloring and disproportionate, floating motifs, Swaminathan presents us with a decidedly conceptual landscape. Indeed, underlying his Bird, Tree and Mountain series was the artist's spiritual interpretation of nature as the guide to a deeply mystifying universe. Paintings such as the current lot appear to be pictorial maps designed to help the viewer see the world in new, revealing ways. Ultimately, this enchanting, resplendent landscape imparts a painterly expression of the sublime.