[Sale 0019(Significant Indian Art)] Lot 45Lot Closed Artist: Rabindranath Tagore


Coloured ink & nib work on paper pasted on board
Signed in Bengali lower centre and dated as 2/12/33
(as per Gregorian Calendar), Bombay

Item condition: Excellent

9 x 5 in

$ 24,000 - $ 30,000

SKU: 45-0019 Categories: ,
The present work by Rabindranath Tagore, Nritya from 1933, is a drawing that he had designed for the cover of a volume dedicated to dance. The text for the book was prepared by his daughter-in-law Pratima Devi, wife of Rathindranath Tagore. The daughter of Binayini Devi, sister of Gaganendranath and Abanindranath Tagore, Pratima had been widowed at a very young age. On Rabindranath’s persistence she was married to his eldest son, making it the first instance of widow-marriage in the Tagore family. Pratima was raised in the eclectic environs of a family of artists, and had a keen sense of aestheticism. As the able daughter-in-law of Rabindranath, she developed her mental and spiritual faculties under his guidance. Letters written by him to the young bride show how anxious he was that her personality should outgrow the narrow mould in which women were kept. Rabindranath personally supervised her education, recommending books for her to read. One of the first students of the Vichitra club, Pratima had learnt painting from Nandalal Bose and honed her skills in varied craft forms, all of which she incorporated later in the curriculum development of Silpa Sadan in Santiniketan. Contented by her dedication to the arts, Rabindranath summoned Pratima to assist him in the production of dance-dramas and plays. She was invariably consulted for costumes and stage-designing in a performance. Tagore was a Titan, but the environment in which he manifested his genius was also competent enough to foster his creativity in whichever way he chose. From the mid- 1920s he had started formalising Santiniketan's dance genre by introducing folk forms and Indian classical dance styles into the curriculum. His associates travelled all over the country in research of various indigenous dance forms and on return, briefed them to Tagore and Pratima. It is indeed a revelation to know of the pioneering creativity propelled by Tagore and his confidantes like Pratima Devi and others. Nritya, the drawing by Tagore was perhaps made to commemorate this vital research work, with a fitting cover-page by none other than the bard himself. Stylistically the work follows the angular formative patterns evinced in many of Tagore’s works. With swift movement of the pen nib he carves out the pliant figures of the dancers, their motions enhanced by the flowing skirts reminiscent of the mystic Sufi dancers. The structured division of space evokes the essence of a stage, the podium for a dancer’s creativity. Tagore’s figures have been inspired by varied folk art forms that he had seen during his expeditions in India and abroad. Equally stimulated was the artist in him by the woodcut prints by German Expressionists Max Pechstein and Ernst Ludwig Kirschner. The resultant amalgamation that emerged from these observations translated themselves into the ingenious creations that carved in a niche for themselves in the history of Modern Indian Art. The first exhibition of Tagore’s painting took place on May 2, 1930 at Gallerie Pigalle in Paris. History chronicles this event as a chance discovery of a genius by a French journalist at an obscure country-house in South of France. This was followed by several other successful exhibitions all over Europe where it was handsomely praised by eminent artists and intellectuals alike.
Acquired directly from Rabindranath Tagore by artist Sarada Charan Ukil and thence by descent with his grandson. Subsequently acquired by the present owners from him in 2009.
" National Art Treasure. Non-Exportable"