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Tyeb Mehta

India (1925 -  2009 ) Wikipedia® : Tyeb Mehta
MEHTA Tyeb  Untitled

Christie's /May 25, 2017
1,734,846.63 - 2,313,128.85
3,167,773.70

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Artworks in Arcadja
121

Some works of Tyeb Mehta

Extracted between 121 works in the catalog of Arcadja
Tyeb Mehta - Gesture

Tyeb Mehta - Gesture

Original 1978
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Price:

Lot number: 26
Other WORKS AT AUCTION
Description:
GESTURE Tyeb Mehta 1925 - 2009 Signed and dated 'TYEB / 78' on reverse Oil on canvas 115 x 89.6 cm. (45 ¼ x 35 ¼ in.) Painted in 1978 Provenance Acquired directly from the artist circa 1978-79 Collection of Aman Nath, New Delhi Osian's Mumbai, 2 December 2005, lot 7 Catalogue Note \“The limbs of the figure are dislocated with an extraordinary formal precision as though in an act of ritual dismemberment. The figure becomes a face with a displaced mouth; a body with a humped shoulder: compressed thigh: flexed hand…The limbs are suspended together on the picture surface in a series of gestures. If we read them separately, the gestures convey doubt: although the image adds up to terror.\” (G. Kapur quoted in D. Chitre, \‘Celebrating Tyeb Mehta,\’Tyeb Mehta: Ideas, Images and Exchanges, ed. by R. Hoskote, Vadehra Art Gallery, New Delhi, 2005, p. 327) In the mid to late 1970s, Tyeb Mehta painted a sequence of works titled \‘Gesture\’ which brought the focus to the \‘hands\’ of his figures.Gesture(1978) is a definitive example of this series. Mehta purified his figures, painting them in a succession of monochromatic panes of flat colour. With different body parts rendered in distinctive hues, the figure appears as if it is splintering and freeing itself from one single form. Mehta, like many artists of his generation had been witness to the tragic events that took place in India during and after Partition and his memories of this period clearly had an immense impact on him and the vocabulary of his art. Growing up in the Muslim area of Bombay as amember of the Dawoodi Bohra minority, Mehtawould have empathised with the marginalised.TheMuslims who had chosen to stay in India after Partition were caught between two worlds, they were regardedas traitors by the new Islamic homeland of Pakistan and 'unreliable resident aliens by Hindu majoritarian forces in India' (ibid.,p. 8).Mehta\’s art is a contemplation of suffering and shows an empathy with human anguish. \“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.\” (ibid.,p.16) Inthis current painting, we see the first type as per Ranjit Hoskote\’s classification. Characteristically of Mehta, the focus here is on a single figure. In an interview in 1997, he reflected, \“I find the minute, the second image comes into the picture it becomes a narrative… I have done it in a few paintings here and there, but by and large I am not interested in that area…\” (In conversation with N. Tuli,The Flamed Mosaic: Indian Contemporary Painting, Grantha Corp, Bombay, 1997, pp. 332-333) Multiple influences are at play here. At first glance, one is reminded of Francis Bacon\’sScreaming Popes. The multiple hands and their crusade are suggestive of the ancient Indian form ofNatarajwith manifold images conveying movement. In 1968, Mehtawas awardeda Rockefeller scholarship that took him to New York. At the Museum of Modern Art, Mehta came across the work of theAmerican abstract painter Barnett Newman. He greatly admired the way that Newman and in particular hisOnementseries broke up the picture plane by using blocks of pure saturated colour. Mehta uses these different stimuli and twists them in his own inimitable manner. Unlike Newman,Mehta did not wish to abandon the figure from his work. While Newman\’szipsdivided 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. We also see a Kandinsky-like play of colours. Mehta is known to have received a copy of the Russian master\’sConcerning the Spiritual in Artby his teacher at the J.J. School of Art, Shankar Palsiker. The effective use of orange in this work echoes Kandinsky\’s sentiments, \“Warm red, intensified by a suitable yellow, isorange. This blend brings red almost to the point of spreading out towards the spectator... orange is red brought nearer to humanity by yellow…\” (W. Kandinsky,Concerning the Spiritual in Art,Dover Publications Inc., New York, 1997, p. 41) Colour is Mehta\’s winning device. The individually coloured parts help delineate the image, define it and purposefully set it apart from the background so that there is a renewed focus on the subject. This technique was also prevalent in the artist\’s trussed bulls of the 1950s.Twenty years hence, Mehta clearly appears to have come full circle in his artistic progression, taking the very best from his early work and setting the stage for what was to come in the 1980s – striving towards a critical balance between figuration and abstraction. A major figure in the tradition of Indian modernism, Mehta was loosely associated with the pioneering Progressive Artists\’ Group. His work however, stood apart from his peers in distinctive ways. While for Maqbool Fida Husain and Francis Newton Souza, the woman and the female body was a recurring motif and a lifelong obsession, Tyeb was at the other end of the spectrum. He was not concerned with the gender of his figures. \“…the reference to the human figure is essential to my work, not as an anatomical body, but as a form which helps me to create space. I don\’t paint man or woman. I paint the human image, its plasticity.\” (Tonalities: A Conversation with Tyeb Mehta and Nancy Adajania,Tyeb Mehta: Ideas, Images and Exchanges, ed. by R. Hoskote, Vadehra Art Gallery, New Delhi, 2005, p. 359) Correspondingly, while colour field painting and abstract expressionism inspired both Mehta and Vasudeo S. Gaitonde, another member of the Progressive Artists\’ Group, they both reworked this inspiration differently. While Gaitonde strove for silence and contemplation, Mehta was all for movement and noise. The inquiry he verbalised for himself was – \“How could he articulate his paintings in such a way as to savor the sheerness and radiance of large areas of colour, the sensuous pleasure of colour-as-field, without sacrificing the figure?\” (R. Hoskote, p. 5) Mehta spent most of his life in Bombay but lived in Delhi between 1965 and 1979 where he was a key figure in the art scene of the Capital. This was a particularly productive chapter of his life and a successful one at that. From a solo exhibition at Kumar Gallery in 1966 to being awarded the Rockefeller Fellowship in 1968 to the writing and directing ofKoodal– an experimental film which won him theFilmfare Critics Choice Awardand led to being awarded a merit certificate at theBiennaledeMentonin Paris in the mid-70s; this was an illustrious time for the artist. It is to this period of activity that the current work belongs. InGesture(1978) Mehta strives for perfection. An interesting anecdote recorded in his monograph provides insights into his work ethic, \“He has never forgotten an observation made by the legendary vocalist, Bhimsen Joshi – whom, he met … to the effect ofriyaz, the private process of preparation, is the site of experimentation and possible errors; but the public performance in concert must displaymastery. When the painting is ready, there can be no allowance for error: it is a fine balance that Tyeb treads. (ibid., p. 4) The purity of his line and the artist's deep understanding of colour combinations to create balance and tension are revealed beautifully in this current example. This work was previously in the collection of Mr. Aman Nath, a renowned Indian writer, hotelier, andarchitectural restorer and cultural impresario based in New Delhi. He was one of the founding members ofINTACH, the leading heritage and conservation organization, headquartered in Delhi. He became the arts editor for the magazineIndia Today, and later remained curator of "Art Today"—an art gallery of the India Today group, situated at Connaught Place, New Delhi. Mr. Nath is also the co-founder and co-chairman of theNeemrana Hotelschain in India, along with the late Francis Wacziarg. Both are today credited for pioneering the heritage hotels movement in India. He is a famed writer having authored several books including the national award-winning Jaipur: The Last Destination, a book on the frescoes of Shekhawati and another on the arts and crafts of Rajasthan. Mr. Nath is well-known for his fine eye for art and amassed a sizeable art collection. He bought this work directly from the Tyeb Mehta in three installments of Rupees 1000, 1000 and 700 in 1978-79. Reminiscing about this purchase, he said, \“Gesture (1978) is the second work of art I ever bought and it was at the start of my early collecting days as a youth. I used to live in Nizamuddin East which is where Tyeb also lived as a close neighbour. He was very fond of me as I was of him. I had many interactions with him, talking about art and his work. We had a conversation about his famed 'diagonal.' This was the very early stages of his career when he was still trying to resolve it. I bought this work at the time when he was moving back to Bombay.\” (In conversation with Sotheby\’s, September 2017) Gesturewas last offered on the open market twelve years ago. Ever since, it has remained in a distinguished private collection. At the time of its sale, this work set a world record for the highest price for a work of Indian Modernart at auction in India. This was preceded by another historic sale just six months prior when Tyeb Mehta\’sMahishasurabecame the first ModernIndian painting to fetch more than $1 million.These works are etched in history as landmark events, triggering a paradigm shift in the Indian art market.
Tyeb Mehta - Crucifixion

Tyeb Mehta - Crucifixion

Original
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Gross Price
Lot number: 52
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Tyeb Mehta Crucifixion Signed and dated 'Tyeb 59' (lower left) 1959 Oil on canvas 54.25 x 35.25 in (138.1 x 89.7 cm) PROVENANCE Gifted by the artist to his daughter Property from the Family of Tyeb Mehta PUBLISHED: Ranjit Hoskote, Ramachandra Gandhi et al., Tyeb Mehta: Ideas Images Exchanges, New Delhi: Vadehra Art Gallery, 2005, p. 55 (illustrated) Category: Painting Style: Figurative
Tyeb Mehta - Falling Figure

Tyeb Mehta - Falling Figure

Original 1965
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Gross Price
Lot number: 98
Other WORKS AT AUCTION
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Tyeb Mehta Falling Figure "Unless an image moves me emotionally, I don't use it." - TYEB MEHTA The Falling Figure has entranced connoisseurs and collectors over the years for the intensity of emotion it captured in the moment of absolute distress. Krishen Khanna, fellow artist and a dear friend of Mehta, was among the first to recognise the force of Mehta's art. In an introductory note to the exhibition of Mehta's paintings at the Kumar Gallery... Falling Figure Signed and dated 'Tyeb 65' (upper right) 1965 Oil on canvas 40.75 x 29.75 in (103.3 x 75.5 cm) PROVENANCE: Gifted by the artist to his daughter Property from the Family of Tyeb Mehta PUBLISHED: Ranjit Hoskote, Ramachandra Gandhi et al., Tyeb Mehta: Ideas Images Exchanges, New Delhi: Vadehra Art Gallery, 2005, p. 79 (illustrated) Category: Painting Style: Figurative
Tyeb Mehta -  Untitled

Tyeb Mehta - Untitled

Original 1994
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Gross Price
Lot number: 15
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TYEB MEHTA (1925-2009) Untitled (Woman on Rickshaw) TYEB MEHTA (1925-2009) Untitled (Woman on Rickshaw) signed 'Tyeb 94' (on the reverse) oil on canvas 59 1/8 x 47 ¼ in. (150.1 x 120 cm.) Painted in 1994 Painted in Tyeb Mehta\\\’s instantly recognisable minimalist format, Untitled (Woman on Rickshaw) resonates with the quiet emotive poignancy that embodies his art. Here, Mehta monumentalises the rickshaw, making it a symbolic stage on which he casts an abstracted female figure. Painted in 1994, this portrait displays the modern master's virtuoso technique, which eliminating any trace of his own hand so that nothing could detract from the primacy of his carefully chosen image. These were \\\“[…] images which haunted him, burning themselves deep into his mental circuitry […] these obsessional images, autobiographical in import, gradually gained significance as Tyeb externalised them, reflecting on them, and allowed them to shimmer against the wider canvas of society.\\\” (R. Hoskote Tyeb Mehta, Images and Exchanges, New Delhi, 2005, p. 14) The ubiquitous rickshaw, normally a benign mode of travel in urban and rural India, takes centre stage in the present painting, transformed by Mehta into an allegory for human suffering, indignity, subjugation and struggle for survival. The image of the rickshaw can be found in Mehta\\\’s works dating as far back as the 1950s, but only appears in his oeuvre on a grand scale much later, following a two year period from 1983, when Mehta was invited to be artist-in-residence at Viswa Bharati University, Santiniketan. Mehta's stay at Santiniketan was timely since it allowed him to recuperate from a serious illness and its cultural ambience was inspiring. It was during this residency that he painted the iconic Figure on Rickshaw, a work that was offered by Christie\\\’s in 2011 and achieved the world auction record for the artist. Mehta\\\’s experiences in Kolkata are indelibly linked to the maturity of the rickshaw as an image in his paintings. It is important to note that the artist is not referring to the common bicycle rickshaws that bustle through so many of India\\\’s cities but rather the more traditional hand-pulled rickshaws of Kolkata and Santiniketan, some of the last places that they can still be found. For Mehta, in the present painting, "The rickshaw is not a simple means of transport but a sign of bondage." (N. Ezekiel, Tyeb Mehta, exhibition catalogue, New Delhi, 1970, unpaginated) and as such, Mehta's iconic Rickshaw series underscores the anonymity and isolation of the common labourer. Significantly in Untitled (Woman on Rickshaw) Mehta has cropped the image so as not to show the rickshaw puller, casting the viewer into this role of bondage instead. The viewer becomes activated and assumes a leading role, caught in a metaphoric dichotomy that Mehta described as, \\\“The tension between containment and freedom is the nature of the work itself.\\\” (Artist statement, N. Adajania, Tyeb Mehta, Images and Exchanges, New Delhi, 2005, p. 358) Almost androgynous in appearance, the captive figure on rickshaw is also formal mechanism within Mehta's composition. Tropes for Mehta are analogous to an artist\\\’s palette: tools with which to craft the final masterpiece. In fact, for Mehta, \\\“The problem with us is that we see the figure. But if you see the painting and forget about the figure, you will be seeing forms relating to each other\\\” (Artist statement, Y. Dalmia, Tyeb Mehta, Images and Exchanges, New Delhi, 2005, p. 354). In Untitled (Woman on Rickshaw) Mehta reveals his craft and skill as a painter of flawless planes of flat colour, a stark contrast to the gestural, textured impasto of his early works. In an interview with Nikki Ty-Tomkins Seth, the artist explains, \\\“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 […] 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 appropriating space." (Artist statement, N. Ty-Tomkins Seth, New Delhi, 2005, p. 343) In the present painting, sumptuous expanses of vivid colour are dissected by the subtle diagonals of the rickshaw handles and wheels and the flailing marble coloured limbs of its occupant, while the abstract use of flattened forms and the segregated monochromatic areas creates a sense of harmony and stillness. The sophistication of Untitled (Woman on Rickshaw) is evident not only in the potency of Mehta's quintessential icons, but in its exquisitely executed elements as well, which transcend the bounds of naturalism. Mehta invites the viewer to become part of the moment he captures, temporarily suspended in stasis before experiencing what the ancient Greeks referred to as anagnorisis: the hero\\\’s tragic realisation of reality. Mehta\\\’s paintings have the power to invoke wonder and devastation in equal measure as he reveals truths that continue to be poignant and universal in the world today.
Tyeb Mehta - Falling Figure

Tyeb Mehta - Falling Figure

Original 1965
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Price:

Gross Price
Lot number: 46
Other WORKS AT AUCTION
Description:
Falling Figure

Signed and dated 'Tyeb 65' (lower right) 1965 Oil on canvas 70.75 x 47.25 in (180 x 119.9 cm) PROVENANCE: Kumar Gallery, New Delhi Property from a Distinguished Private Collection, New Delhi EXHIBITED: Solo Show, New Delhi: Kumar Gallery, 1966 First Triennale India, New Delhi: Lalit Kala Akademi, 10 February - 31 March 1968 India: Myth & Reality, Aspects of Modern Indian Art, Oxford: Museum of Modern Art, 27 June - 8 August 1982 PUBLISHED: First Triennale India, New Delhi: Lalit Kala Akademi, 1968, (illustrated, unpaginated) David Elliott and Ebrahim Alkazi eds., India: Myth & Reality, Aspects of Modern Indian Art, Oxford: Museum of Modern Art, 1982, p. 22 (illustrated) Sovon Som and Amit Kumar Mukhopadhyay eds., Lalit Kala Contemporary, Volume 36, New Delhi: Lalit Kala Akademi, 1990 (illustrated, unpaginated) Ranjit Hoskote, Ramachandra Gandhi et al., Tyeb Mehta: Ideas Images Exchanges, New Delhi: Vadehra Art Gallery, 2005, p. 86 (illustrated) Tyeb Mehta: Triumph of Vision, New Delhi: Vadehra Art Gallery, 2011, p. 8 (illustrated) Richard Bartholomew, The Art Critic, Noida: Bart, 2012, p. 213 (illustrated) Celebration 2016, Kumar Gallery: Sixty Years 1955-2015, New Delhi: Kumar Gallery, 2016, p. 195 (illustrated) Category: Painting Style: Figurative
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