George Keyt

(19011993 ) - Artworks Wikipedia® - George Keyt
KEYT George Bhima And Jarasandha

Christie's /Sep 17, 2013
37,608.12 - 52,651.37
110,620.43

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Artworks in Arcadja
130

Some works of George Keyt

Extracted between 130 works in the catalog of Arcadja
George Keyt - Seated Woman With Flowers

George Keyt - Seated Woman With Flowers

Original
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Lot number: 360
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George Keyt (Sri Lanka, 1901-1993) Seated Woman with Flowers , oil on canvas, signed and dated G.Keyt 46 lower right, framed, 126 x 87cm (49 5/8 x 34 1/4in). Footnotes Provenance : Private USA Collection; acquired from The Indian Sale , Sotheby's, 8th May 1997, lot 287. Previously purchased directly from the artist.
George Keyt - Untitled (the Flute Player)

George Keyt - Untitled (the Flute Player)

Original 1982
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Lot number: 48
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Description:
GEORGE KEYT (1901-1993, Sri Lankan) Untitled (The Flute Player) 1982 oil on canvas 77.0 x 77.5 cm signed and dated lower right: G Keyt/ 82 Provenance: Collection of Mr Dhammika Gunasekara, Sri Lanka Private collection, Sydney, c2004 Keyt I think is the living nucleus of a great painter. In all his works, there is the moderation of maturity. … [His] figures take on a strange expressive grandeur, and radiate an aura of intensely profound feeling.1 Sri Lankan born painter George Keyt (1901-93) is an artist of international significance. A master of reinvention and a prodigious creator, he remained active in his practice until his death at the age of 92. Armed with a modernist ethos, Keyt’’s aesthetic evolved in line with the major stylistic shifts that comprise 20th century art. His unique vision is a synthesis of East and West, seamlessly merging European innovations with South Asian subjects and techniques, particularly Sri Lankan temple painting and Indian sculpture. Despite his clear admiration for cubist and fauvist principles, and the work of Pablo Picasso (1881-1973) and Georges Braque (1882-1963), Keyt’’s subject matter was almost always rooted in local tradition, drawn from Hindu and Buddhist mythology and village life. Though undoubtedly liberated by modernist ideology, Keyt’’s enigmatic vision defies categorisation and remains singularly his. Keyt’’s exposure to the language of abstraction lauded by cubism announced itself in his work during the early thirties. This resulted in the emergence of a style that saw the physical realities of place, space and form dissolve and reform themselves on a single painterly plane, held together by a template of crisp lines. (The Flute Player) 1982 is a mature work, technically flawless and imbued with a sense of assurance and spontaneity that only comes with artistic maturity. Like many of his paintings, Keyt here represents two figures, a man and a woman. Both are conceived with exaggerated exotic features and adorned in traditional garments. The composition itself is highly sophisticated, the two figures mirroring each other through their commonalities: round heads; almond-shaped eyes; angular brows and full lips. Keyt uses colour to enact contrast between the two. The dark brown pigment used to delineate the man is effortlessly complimented by the creamy flesh tones of the woman. Keyt achieves compositional harmony through the inclusion of bold white lines that form a web over the flat bands of colour, creating a flattened sense of perspective and unveiling the abstracted figures beneath. 1. Pablo Neruda cited in Archer,W.G., India and Modern Art, Macmillan, London, 1959, p. 124 Alison Burns BA (Hons); MA
George Keyt - Woman With Vase

George Keyt - Woman With Vase

Original 1982
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Gross Price
Lot number: 213
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Description:
Lot Description GEORGE KEYT (1901-1993) Woman with Vase; Virahini signed and dated 'G Keyt 82' (upper left) each oil on canvas 16 1/8 x 13¼ in. (41 x 33.7 cm.); 16 3/8 x 12½ in. (41.6 x 31.8 cm.) Painted in 1982; Two works on canvas 2 (2) Provenance Acquired directly from the artist Pre-Lot Text PROPERTY FROM THE COLLECTION OF RENE MARGIES AND MATTHIAS SERVAIS (213-217)
George Keyt - Bhima And Jarasandha

George Keyt - Bhima And Jarasandha

Original 1943
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Gross Price
Lot number: 141
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Lot Description GEORGE KEYT (1901-1993) Bhima and Jarasandha signed and dated 'G Keyt 43' (upper right) oil on canvas 31 5/8 x 31½ in. (80.3 x 80 cm.) Painted in 1943 Provenance Formerly from the collection of Martin Russell, London Saleroom Notice Please note this painting was exhibited in a solo show Bombay, 1947 and was featured on the cover of the exhibition catalogue. Pre-Lot Text "Its [The '43 Group's] work, especially at the peak of its development in 1940s and 1950s, represented one of the most outstanding achievements of modern Asian art in its time." (S. Bandaranayake and M. Fonseka ed., Ivan Peries Paintings 1938-88, Melbourne, 1996, p. 9) The legacy of the '43 Group was fundamental, not only in its impact on the visual culture of Sri Lanka but in terms of developing an international platform for a modern South Asian art. Parallels are inevitably drawn with the Bombay Progressive Artists' Group. Both were groups of a new generation of likeminded artists seeking to break with colonial orientalist idioms in favor of "A mode of indigenized modernization, of great originality and authenticity." (S. Bandaranayake and M. Fonseka ed., Ivan Peries Paintings 1938-88, Melbourne, 1996, p. 9) This group of visionary Sri Lankan artists, of which founding members included George Keyt, George Claessen and Ivan Peries, all shared this sentiment and so the '43 Group was conceived, having its first exhibition in Colombo in 1943. The influence of western painting was maintained by the Ceylon Society of Arts which advocated a traditional nineteenth century art education. "John Berger, the art critic of the New Statesman, in an introductory note in the catalogue of the first '43 Group exhibition in London in 1952, said it was 'an imported if not imposed art: an art deriving from the nineteenth century English tradition with an exotically 'oriental' overtone added'." (N. Weereratne, 43 Group: A Chronicle of Fifty Years of Art in Sri Lanka, Melbourne, 1993, p. 13) The Ceylon Society of Arts rejected the numerous applications of artists that did not conform to their standards, leaving many disenchanted artists without a platform to exhibit or forum to exchange ideas. It was from under the prohibitive shadow of the status quo of the Ceylon Society of Arts that the '43 Group of ambitious and modernizing artists emerged. Whilst exact accounts of the first meeting of the group differ, seven or eight artists met on 29 August 1943 in Colombo to form the '43 Group. They were hosted by Lionel Wendt, a photographer and critically influential anchor for the artists. The meeting included Ivan Peries, Lester James Peries, Aubrey Collette, George Claessen, Richard Gabriel, Harry Pieris. Though absent from this first meeting, the group decided to include George Keyt, Justin Daraniyagala and Manjusri Theo. Keyt's Bhima and Jarasandha (lot 141) featured in the inaugural exhibition in November 1943 as catalogue no. 59. "The most remarkable thing about the Group [...] was that it was made up of artists who were so diverse in style and temperament [...] Each member had his own individual style and outlook, and yet we held together as a cohesive whole." (A. Collette quoted in, 43 Group: A Chronicle of Fifty Years of Art in Sri Lanka, p. 19) There was no official manifesto, however they readily devoured influences from European and American modernism first introduced to them by Charles Freegrove Winzer, the Ceylon Governments' Inspector of Art. For Keyt "Winzer provided a window into a fresh and unfamiliar world of painting. He introduced them to the work of the Impressionists; to Pissarro, Manet, Renoir, Degas, Cezanne, Gauguin, Van Gogh; and Picasso and Matisse." (43 Group: A Chronicle of Fifty Years of Art in Sri Lanka, p. 16) The group according to Keyt were prejudicial with what they assimilated, "Happily for us the '43 Group is no narrow fanatical body in its reception of modern art and the welcome it has always extended to Western trends in Europe and what it could gather from such vital trends in America. In fact its main cause of origin was the rejection of the obsolete and the dead in the art of Ceylon and all that has resulted from the obsolete and dead deriving from the art of Europe." (G. Keyt quoted in, N. Weereratne, 43 Group: A Chronicle of Fifty Years of Art in Sri Lanka, Melbourne, 1993, p. 16) However it was in moving abroad to England that those masters of '43 Group really gained recognition. Following a similar trajectory to the Bombay Progressive Artists' group emigrated to Europe where they further assimilated and incorporated external influences into their art. The first exhibition was at the Imperial Institute in London in November 1952 at the invitation of the Royal India, Pakistan and Ceylon Society - George Claessen was present at the opening. A similar exhibition followed in Paris at Petit Palais in November 1953 with the museum acquiring works by Ivan Peries. In London further exhibitions and acclaim ensued at the Institute of Contemporary Art, the Beaux Arts Gallery and Artists International Association Gallery culminating in the landmark exhibition at the Heffer gallery in Cambridge where Martin Russell, the art critic and collector of Keyt, was a guest speaker. Keyt remained on the subcontinent but Claessen and Peries both spent the majority of their lives working and exhibiting in London. These key members of the group continued to exhibit in their native Sri Lanka, however they gained increased international acclaim participating in biennales in Venice and Sao Paulo. Despite the diasporic nature of the group, each artist maintained distinct vocabularies that incorporated the western modernist idiom whilst retaining their Sri Lankan heritage and vernacular. PROPERTY FROM THE COLLECTION OF RENE MARGIES AND MATTHIAS SERVAIS Literature M. Russell, George Keyt, Bombay, 1950, pl. 66 (illustrated, unpaginated) P.R.R. Rao, Modern Indian Painting, Hyderabad, 1953, p. xxi, pl. 99 (illustrated) A. Halpe (ed.), George Keyt, Colombo, 1977, p. 14 (illustrated) S. Goonasekera, George Keyt: Interpretations, Kandy, 1991, p. 73 (illustrated) Exhibited This work was included in the inaugural '43 Group exhibition in Colombo, November 1943, as no. 59 (see catalogue listing on previous page). View Lot Notes >
George Keyt - Courtship

George Keyt - Courtship

Original 1973
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Gross Price
Lot number: 90
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Description:
GEORGE KEYT (1901-1993) Courtship signed and dated 'G Keyt 73' (lower left) acrylic on canvas 25 x 26¼ in. (63.5 x 66.7 cm.) Painted in 1973 Formerly in the collection of Kusum Keyt, Colombo, Sri Lanka PROPERTY FROM THE COLLECTION OF RENE MARGIES AND MATTHIAS SERVAIS (LOTS 90-95) After having travelled to Sri Lanka over 10 years admiring more and more the beauty of the country and its magnificent culture, it happened one day in 1981 that we discovered in a private house in Colombo several extraordinary impressive paintings. The paintings' signature (George Keyt) did at that time not mean anything to us, so we assumed that he might be a European painter. We learnt how wrong we were, as the house owner proudly explained, that George Keyt is an internationally renowned artist and probably the most talented living painter of Sri Lanka. Being keen to meet the artist personally, we found him after a long search in a small village upcountry near the town of Kandy; that was in the winter of 1981. The reception by George Keyt for us was warm and very friendly. After an interesting talk with the artist and his wife he was keen to show us his studio, which hosted several paintings, for which he gave interesting comments and explanations. We felt great, as we were able to purchase that very day two lovely paintings. We immediately began to contact many of our old friends in Colombo and other parts of Sri Lanka in order to trace information about George Keyt in the form of past newspaper articles. Through newspaper advertisements we were able to buy some rare books about him, which were out of print, and we also found newspaper clippings from 1964. Quite interesting: in the Library of the famous Museum of Art in Zurich/Switzerland we found in the Encyclopedia of the 20th Century a detailed curriculum vitae of George Keyt. It was in those days impossible to find in Sri Lanka high quality painting materials, so Keyt asked us to bring such things with us whenever we came to Sri Lanka. We met him at least once a year, and in between we exchanged correspondence, which led to a good friendship. Our interest in his wonderful art grew, and we had to realize how difficult it was to find paintings of various periods. After long unsuccessful searching we asked him one day, whether he could introduce us to owners or collectors, who would be prepared to sell one of his paintings. He pointed out that his wife Kusum had 10 important paintings in her possession, all placed in a friend's house in the southern town of Galle. A day later we were taken to that house and Kusum made us understand that she was prepared to sell some of these wonderful works, because they were planning to build a new house with a studio. We instantly bought 7 out of the 10 paintings, which we look at daily and highly appreciate. Later we had the chance to purchase more of his paintings from other collectors, including his long-term friend Martin Russell in England, who wrote in 1949 a unique book titled George Keyt. Having become friends, we invited Kusum and George to spend a holiday with us in our newly built Colonial Style house on the East coast near Trincomalee. When they were ready to come over, it happened unfortunately, that the disturbances broke out, and there was no possibility they could stay with us, as we could not guarantee their safety. Being back in Europe, we got the paintings specially framed, and they were hung in our house in Switzerland. George was so thrilled to see how tastefully we had done the framing, that he offered to explain his works in his own handwriting to be placed under each painting. Six years ago we changed residence to Barbados in the West Indies, and we took our whole art collection with us. Here in Barbados, which is an international (melting pot) we have a lot of visitors to our house, some of them art collectors, all of them totally fascinated by the impressive work of George Keyt and they not only ask questions about the artist, they also want to learn more about a country, which had such an unique artist. For us it is a great pleasure to be a kind of (ambassador) for Sri Lanka, as we have a wide knowledge of the country, its people and its grand history. For Matthias and myself it was not only an important event to meet the artist personally, we also had many good talks and enjoyed his unique personality and his warm heart. While India for example has brought up its Rabindranath Tagore, France its Jean Cocteau, Sri Lanka has reason to be proud of its multi-talented George Keyt. Meeting and becoming a friend of George Keyt was for us the greatest experience ever in Sri Lanka. --Rene Margies and Matthias Servais A. Halpe (ed.), George Keyt, Colombo, 1977, front cover, p. 106 (illustrated) A. Tappe, 'Liebe Als Universelle Idee: George Keyt - Ein Ceylonesischer Maler Geht Neue Wege', Mercedes-Benz In Aller Welt, Germany, Issue 5, 1986, p. 33 (illustrated) "The lyric painting of George Keyt is sensuous Indian poetry brought to canvas. Like earlier Indian painters of Rajasthan and the Punjab Hills, and M. F. Husain after him, Keyt takes as his primary theme woman as the focus of man's concern. He paints her in flat planes, with bounding lines and rich warmth of color. His idiom occasionally carries in it a hint of Picasso but is, once again, in direct line with the traditional styles of Central India, Mewar, and Basohli. But the originality of Keyt's inspiration is undoubted, and his work remains uniquely his own." (R. Bartholomew and S. S. Kapur, Husain, Abrams, New York, 1972, p. 27) George Keyt didn't start painting until he was 26, but he quickly went on to become an international giant of Modern art and arguably Sri Lanka's most celebrated 20th Century artist. His unique visual idiom combined European Modernist innovations with the ancient South Asian fresco techniques found at Ajanta and Sigiriya. His earliest work was distinctly Gauginesque-sumptuous pastorals and figure studies free from overt perspectival abstraction, populated by luxuriant nudes and semi-nudes swaddled in robes, limbs graceful and provocatively intertwined. By the early 1930s, the cubism that would forever alter the character of his paintings began to emerge in his work. Still, Keyt perpetually re-invented his craft, adopting and discarding countless subtle variations in style across his seven decade career. Despite his clear admiration for cubist and fauvist principles, his subject matter was almost always rooted in local tradition, depicting dancers, shepherdesses, and gods, often drawn from Hindu and Buddhist mythology. Examples of this are seen in the masterpieces Gopika Vastra Paharana, 1952 (lot 91) and Mahesha Mardini, 1968 (lot 95). In Gopika Vastra Paharana, Keyt draws on classical Indian painting and pichhwai depictions of the divine lila -- a moment of divine rapture where Krishna, on the banks of the Yamuna captures the hearts of the gopis, earning him the title "thief of hearts". In Mahesha Mardini, Keyt gives us his rendition of the story of Durga, armed with a trident from Shiva, Chakra from Vishnu, a lion from the Himalayas and a bow and arrow from Vayu, attacks Mahishasura, the half man - half buffalo demon, killing him after nine days of fierce battle. Throughout his lifetime, Keyt's work was exhibited alongside leading European artists in galleries around the world. Most notably, in 1930, he exhibited alongside Picasso and Braque at the Zwemmer Gallery in London. Pablo Neruda wrote the introduction for the catalogue of this exhibition. "Keyt I think is the living nucleus of a great painter. In all his works, there is the moderation of maturity. [His] figures take on a strange expressive grandeur, and radiate an aura of intensely profound feeling." (W. G. Archer, India and Modern Art, London, 1959, p. 124)
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