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31

Mohan Samant

Untitled

Property from a Private American Collection

Mohan Samant

Mohan Samant

Untitled

Untitled

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Property from a Private American Collection

Mohan Samant

1924 - 2004

Untitled 


Gouache on cardboard

Signed in Devanagari and dated '53' upper left

20 x 22 in. (50.8 x 55.8 cm.)

Painted in 1953

To request a condition report for this lot, please email Frances.Belsham@sothebys.com

Acquired circa 1990s

“Neither style nor theme dictates my art. I paint as I please, for I paint for the pure pleasure of painting.”


 - Mohan Samant


(‘Mohan Samant’, Jhaveri Contemporary, 2018)


Mohan Samant was born and raised in Bombay, attending the Sir J.J. School of Art before joining the Progressive Artists’ Group upon his graduation in 1952. His exposure to and interest in classical Indian sculpture, Mughal miniature paintings, and historic sites in India, melded with his astute understanding of abstraction to form unique visual idiom that never stagnated.


Throughout his career, Samant defied the boundaries of discipline, medium, technique, and style, and he was meticulous in his craft: “I don’t practice painting with drawing and sketching. I just paint and if I don’t like it I overpaint the same canvas twice, thrice, many times.” (Mohan Samant quoted in R. D’Mello, ‘Mohan Samant: Picture the Outsider’, Open the Magazine, 2018)


Rendered with a rich and vibrant palette and through the profoundly Cubist aesthetic of the artist’s early years, the current lot masterfully challenges the boundaries between figuration and abstraction. Four women are dexterously constructed from an amalgam of geometric line and form, and appear engaged in rural life, perhaps shown within a village scene or along a river bank. The women’s features and limbs are distinctly outlined and yet intimately overlap to form a dynamic synthesis of shape and color.


Samant went on to produce an incredibly eclectic opus, boldly experimenting with mixed media and incorporating acrylic, oil, wire and sand on his canvases. This early work provides an insight into the beginnings of Samant’s unique journey with Modernism.