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Tyeb Mehta

India (1925 -  2009 ) Wikipedia® : Tyeb Mehta
MEHTA Tyeb Girl In Love

Christie's /Dec 11, 2014
86,226.54 - 110,862.70
534,127.50

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Artworks in Arcadja
106

Some works of Tyeb Mehta

Extracted between 106 works in the catalog of Arcadja
Tyeb Mehta - Untitled (head)

Tyeb Mehta - Untitled (head)

Original 1960
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Lot number: 55
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TYEB MEHTA (1925-2009) Untitled (Head) signed, dated and titled 'Tyeb 61 HEAD 1960' (on the reverse) oil on board 36 x 24 1/8 in. (91.4 x 61.4 cm.) Painted in 1960-61 Pre-Lot Text PROPERTY FROM THE COLLECTION OF A GENTLEMAN Literature Tyeb Mehta, exhibition catalogue, New Delhi, 1971-72 (illustrated, unpaginated) R. Hoskote, Tyeb Mehta: Ideas Images Exchanges, New Delhi, 2005, p. 54 (illustrated) Exhibited New Delhi, Kunika-Chemould Gallery, Tyeb Mehta, 1971
Tyeb Mehta - Untitled

Tyeb Mehta - Untitled

Original 1959
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Lot number: 20
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Tyeb Mehta (India, 1929-2009) Untitled (Figure) Oil on hardboard 89 x 59cm (35 1/16 x 23 1/4in). Signed and dated 59 on reverse Footnotes Provenance: Private U.K. collection Acquired from Gallery Chemould, Jehangir Art Gallery, Mumbai in the 1960s or early 70s. This present lot is a poignant and important early work by arguably the most successful Indian artist in the world, Tyeb Mehta. Born in 1925, Mehta was raised in the Crawford Market neighbourhood of Bombay. He was living in a minority community of Dawoodi Bohras in an already marginalised Muslim sector of Bombay society. In 1944, Mehta was working as film editor in a cinema laboratory at Famous Studios in Mumbai. He had hoped to embark on formal education in film to grant him access to the blossoming Bombay cinema scene. In the 1930s film studios had sprung up around the city and the Indian cinema industry, decades later labelled 'Bollywood', was producing over 200 films every year. Unfortunately for the young Tyeb Mehta, religious and political upheaval in pre partition India made it unsafe for him to travel to film school instead he enrolled at the J. J. School of Art in 1947. Aged 22, Mehta witnessed the anarchic ochlocracy of an India in turmoil. From his balcony on Mohammad Ali Road in Bombay he saw a man set on and killed by a mob. This violent incident had a profound impact on Mehta. He was able to see man in his rawest most primal form, vicious and unforgiving. However this incident also made him acknowledge mortality and insignificance of man. In the face of such chaos and destruction Tyeb Mehta saw the importance of simply existing. Receiving his diploma from the J.J. School of Art in 1952, Tyeb had interacted and exchanged ideas with Sayed Haider Raza, Maqbool Fida Husain and Krishen Khanna, the founding members of the Progressive Artists' Group. Mehta recalls, "... we learned and tried to understand painting through each other. Gradually, I realized that painting offered a world of expression, all of its own. I forgot about films and became obsessed with learning what painting was all about." (Tyeb Mehta, Celebration: Tyeb Mehta, Vadehra Art Gallery, New Delhi, 1996). In the 1950s and 60s, Mehta, like his contemporaries internationally, was influenced by the writings of Malraux, Gide, Camus and Sartre. As Ranjit Hoskote notes "These gurus of the age informed Tyeb and his contemporaries in their understanding of human vulnerability, the scope of choice available within the limitations imposed by social convention, the degree of freedom that the individual could wrest from the realm of necessity." (R. Hoskote, Tyeb Mehta: Ideas, Images, Exchanges, New Delhi, 2005, p. 6) Early examples of his work, such as this present lot from 1959 show his then customary use of heavy impasto, an acknowledgement of the Parisian schools of painting. Although now a painter, Mehta retains a cinematic quality to his works. In this example, the figure is shown emerging from the encompassing background with his shoulder, arm and upper chest highlighted in the foreground. The scene is reminiscent of film noir use of darkness and shadow. Tyeb Mehta's first solo exhibition was held in Mumbai at Jehangir Art Gallery in 1959 organised by Bal Chhabda's 'Gallery '59'. After this Tyeb Mehta travelled to London where he stayed for five years. During his time in the U.K. a well-received solo exhibition was held at Bear Lane Gallery, Oxford in 1962. The painting 'Pink Figure' [Figure 1] auctioned by Bonhams in 2006 was displayed at this exhibition and shows Mehta's preoccupation with the figure. The Pink Figure is faceless, yet not inanimate. Similarly the present lot, even with the figure's impassive face and withdrawn and pensive stance, gives the impression of presence and tangibility. ...the figure, however attenuated or streamlined, marks the presence of the human being: it is an incarnation, literally a making-flesh, of the hopes, fears, desires and transformative potentialities of the self. (R. Hoskote, Tyeb Mehta: Ideas, Images, Exchanges, New Delhi, 2005, p. 6) The figure continued to be a significant and recurring subject throughout Tyeb Mehta's oeuvre. In subsequent periods, Mehta shifts stylistically, favouring large flat plains of colour and cubist distortion. One such example from 1978, part of Mehta's post 1969 diagonal series, was auctioned by Bonhams in 2013 [Figure 2]. Despite the change in technique, the figure is maintained as a key motif. Never before offered at auction this personal and evocative masterpiece is a rare insight into one of the region's most eminent artists.
Tyeb Mehta - Untitled

Tyeb Mehta - Untitled

Original 1982
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Lot number: 23
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Tyeb Mehta: In Search of Lightness Tyeb Mehta places his Standing Figure on a ground of ochre against subtle pastel shades, all contained within cleanly defined planes. He creates a composition that is neat and deceptively simple. The colours are secured within their boundaries and the lines define the contours and the semblance of a female form. The figure commands the viewer's full attention: "In Tyeb's painting, the... Tyeb Mehta Untitled (Standing Figure) 1982 Oil on canvas 69 x 47 in | 175.3 x 119.4 cm Signed and dated 'Tyeb '82', inscribed 'Herwitz Collection' and bearing 'The Grey Art Gallery and Study Center' label (on the reverse) EXHIBITED Contemporary Indian Art from the Chester and Davida Herwitz Family Collection , exhibition catalogue, The Grey Art Gallery and Study Center, New York University, New York, December 1985-January 1986; Center Art Gallery, Bucknell University, Lewisburg, Pennsylvania, February-March 1986; Robert Hull Fleming Museum, University of Vermont, Vermont, Burlington, April-May 1986 PUBLISHED Thomas W. Sokolowski ed., Contemporary Indian Art from the Chester and Davida Herwitz Family Collection , New York: The Grey Art Gallery, 1985, p. 59 (illustrated) Ranjit Hoskote ed., Tyeb Mehta: Ideas Images Exchanges , New Delhi: Vadehra Art Gallery, 2005, p. 126 (illustrated) PROVENANCE Contemporary Indian Paintings from the Chester and Davida Herwitz Collection, Sotheby's, New York, 5 December 2000, lot 97 An Important Private Collection
Tyeb Mehta - Girl In Love

Tyeb Mehta - Girl In Love

Original 1957
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Lot number: 5
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Lot Description TYEB MEHTA (1925-2009) Girl in Love signed and dated 'Tyebi 57' (upper right) and titled 'Girl in Love' (on the reverse) oil on canvas 23¼ x 17¼ in. (59.1 x 43.8 cm.) Painted in 1957 Provenance Acquired directly from the artist on the advice of Maqbool Fida Husain, circa 1990s Pre-Lot Text PROPERTY FROM THE COLLECTION OF A GENTLEMAN View Lot Notes >
Tyeb Mehta - Blue Painting

Tyeb Mehta - Blue Painting

Original 1982
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Lot number: 25
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Tyeb Mehta 1925-2009 BLUE PAINTING Signed and dated 'Tyeb / 82' on reverse Oil on canvas 115 by 90 cm. (45 ¼ by 35 ½ in.) Painted in 1982 Read Condition Report Read Condition Report Register or Log-in to view condition report Saleroom Notice Provenance Collection of Mr. Bal Chhabra Acquired from the above circa 1992-1993 "The painting hung in the living room of Bal Chhabra's house alongside a breathtaking work by Vasudeo S. Gaitonde. Through the doors of the living room one could see Maa, one of the signature works by Sayed Haider Raza. However it was this blue painting by Tyeb Mehta that transfixed me where I stood and subsequently became the first work I ever purchased of this artist." - Masanori Fukuoka, Founder and Director of the Glenbarra Art Museum Exhibited New Delhi, Calcutta, Bangalore, Mumbai, Image Beyond Image, 1997 Literature Contemporary Indian Art, Glenbarra Art Museum Collection, Glenbarra Japan Co. Ltd., 1993, p. 51 illus. R. Hoskote, Tyeb Mehta: Ideas, Images, Exchanges, New Delhi, 2005, p.135 illus. ‘Tyeb's art is not simply figurative, but rather, is figural: it does not content itself merely with representing the human form, but navigates between abstraction and conceptual play on the one hand, and the illusionism of representation on the other.' (R. Hoskote, Tyeb Mehta: Ideas, Images, Exchanges, New Delhi, 2005, p. 20). 'More than for other leading Modernists in India, however, Mehta's subjects and point of view were obsessively singular throughout his life; they left an enduring imprint on twentieth-century Indian art and cultural history.' (B. Citron cited in S. Bean ed., Midnight to the Boom, Painting in India after Independence, Thames and Hudson, London, 2013, p. 97) Tyeb Mehta and his contemporaries began their careers at a time of great political change in India. Independence brought with it the development of a nation-state that strove for a new identity that was free from colonial influences and focused on the growth of an indigenous Modernist movement. During this period, Mehta and his peers had very limited exposure to international art, relying on the few reproductions they found in art books. As a result of this scarcity of available knowledge and information, a number of young Indian artists left for Europe and North America to further their careers. From 1959, Mehta based himself and his family in London for five years where he was first exposed to Abstract Expressionism. In 1968, Mehta was awarded a Rockefeller scholarship that took him to New York, where he came into contact with the work of the American abstract painter Barnett Newman at the Museum of Modern Art. He greatly admired the way that Newman and in particular his Onement series broke up the picture plane by using blocks of pure saturated colour. However unlike Newman, Mehta did not wish to abandon the figure from his work. "The human figure has become part of my vocabulary, like a certain way of applying colour or breaking up images. It is a sort of vehicle for me. I am not a minimalist or abstract painter... my work is still expressionist. The human figure is my source, what I primarily react to. But in transferring that image to canvas, I begin to think in terms of modulating the canvas, distributing areas of colour and apportioning space. I put a certain distance between myself as the seer and the canvas as the seen to allow the painting to exist as an entity in its own right." (Interview by N.T. Seth, Tyeb Mehta: Ideas, Images, Exchanges, New Delhi, 2005, p. 343). While Newman’’s zips divided the canvas into two halves, Mehta’’s angular lines dissected the canvas into jagged segments that appear to both amalgamate and diverge at the same time. This particular convention was unique to Mehta. Mehta looked to combine the intensity of pure colour with figurative composition. This was a departure from the perspective and tonal variation seen in his earlier expressionist works. The heavy impasto was abandoned in favour of large expanses of solid colour and clean lines. "I became interested in using pure color. Normally brush marks suggest areas of directions. I wanted to avoid all this to bring elements down to such a minimal level that the image alone would be sufficient to speak for itself." (Interview by N.T. Seth, p. 342). This new phase of painting brought with it the development of a diagonal form that Mehta used to structure and divide his canvases. The artist came up with this compositional device to maintain order within the frame by using different overlapping planes of colour accompanied by the figure, and executed with a sparseness of line that becomes a hallmark of his later works. An excellent example of this evolution in Mehta’’s paintings can be found when comparing the present work – Blue Painting, 1982 with his Blue Figure - Standing, 1961. Both paintings are executed with varying shades of blue and contain a central human figure that is the main subject and focal point of each work. However, that appears to be where the similarities end. Blue Figure - Standing contains areas of impasto and the paint application is dynamic and gestural. It is apparent that Mehta’’s predominant concerns match those of the early expressionists, who focused more on the application of paint than the figure itself. Blue Painting, 1982, on the other hand, serves up bright planes of pure and unadulterated blues symphonised by the careful usage of lines. Here, the colour distorts for emotional effect and seeks to express meaning and emotional experience rather than physical reality. The figure is better defined and purposefully set apart from the background so that there is a renewed focus on the subject. He has reconfigured the woman into individually coloured geometric planes, mirroring the technique he employed while painting his trussed bulls in the 1950s. Blue Painting was produced during a renaissance in Mehta’’s career where he appears to have come full circle in his artistic progression, taking the very best from his early work. By the 80s, Mehta’’s work had reached a critical balance between figuration and abstraction, with the studied use of lines to absolve the painting of any overt formalism. Blue Painting was created in 1982, two years before Mehta began his residency at Santiniketan and well after he had established the importance of colour and composition in his works. It is rare by virtue of that fact that is one of few monochromatic paintings that Mehta ever produced. The emotions elicited by his considered use of colour is exceptional in the case of this work. One may surmise that during his time abroad where Mehta studied the various avant-garde movements occurring in the West, he was also inspired by Henri Matisse and the short-lived Fauvist movement. The Fauves expressed emotion with wild and often dissonant colours that did not match reality. Bright, expressive hues were coupled with flat figures and measured lines as in the case of this work. The deep blue colour present in this painting is also reminiscent of International Klein Blue (IKB), the colour created and patented by Yves Klein in his search to better express the emotions and concepts that he wished to convey. Although Klein used the colour blue throughout his career and painted monochromatic works as early as 1949, it was not until 1958 that the blue colour itself became the main component of his art. Mehta moved to London in 1959, a year after Klein made this progression and it is entirely conceivable that he was affected by this legendary artist and his practice with the colour blue. A decade before, Mehta’’s predominantly androgynous figures had given way to a partiality for the female form. With rounded breasts and softer facial features, woman began to dominate his canvases, as is the case with Blue Painting. Yet regardless of gender, throughout his career Mehta's approach to the human figure has centred on the themes of suffering and marginalisation. He witnessed the atrocities that took place during Partition and these scenes became etched in his memory. 'There are chiefly two kinds of figures in Tyeb's iconography: one kind is born of terror, and encompasses his victim types; the other kind is born of kindred hope and awe, and these are his ambiguous divine / demoniac figures.' (R. Hoskote, Tyeb Mehta: Ideas, Images, Exchanges, New Delhi, 2005, p. 16). There is a quiet and calming beauty in Blue Painting, despite Mehta’’s signature distortion of the figure. The potency in this vibrant minimalist composition lies within the harmony between its form, tone and line. The combination of all these elements makes Blue Painting, 1982, a classic and timeless masterpiece. Fig. 1 Tyeb Mehta, Blue Figure - Standing , 1961. Image courtesy of Vadehra Art Gallery Fig. 2 Barnett Newman, Onement VI , 1953. Sotheby's New York, 14 May 2013, lot 17. Sold for: US$ 43,845,000 © 2014 The Barnett Newman Foundation, New York / DACS, London Fig. 3 Tyeb Mehta, Trussed Bull , 1956. Image courtesy of Vadehra Art Gallery Fig. 4 Yves Klein, Untitled Blue Monochrome (IKB 271) , 1960. Sotheby's London, 30 June 2014, lot 18. Sold for: £2,770,500 © ADAGP, Paris and DACS, London 2014
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