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Lot Details

Signed and dated 'Jogen / 2001’ (lower left)
Initialed and dated in Bengali (lower right)

Further signed, titled, dated and inscribed 'Artist: Jogen Chowdhury / Title: Woman Reclining / Size: 56.2 x 71 cm. / Medium: pen and ink with pastels / Year: painted in 2001 (Santiniketan/West Bengal)' (on the reverse)

The Saffronart & Pundole Modern Indian Art Exhibition, The Metropolitan Pavilion, New York, May 2001
Private collection, Delhi
Private collection, Dubai

The Saffronart & Pundole Modern Indian Art Exhibition, The Metropolitan Pavilion, New York, 12-16 May 2001

Jogen Chowdhury celebrates and maintains a uniquely Indian approach to art for the last 40 years of his career. This singular sensibility along with his mastery of lines distinguishes his work and cements him as one of India's important artists in the 21st century. After growing up in a refugee settlement in former Calcutta during the partition of India, he made art his medium of evaluating his milieu; and portrayed the starkness of reality he witnessed. Indian family life and traditional folklore also inspired him, equally at ease in depicting idyllic rural life along with complex issues of sexuality, poverty, and politics.

He depicted his figures in a simple yet dramatized presence by stripping them down to the most basic of form. He uses strong fluid lines and carefully exaggerates proportion to distort and impart an air of caricature. He also employs an intricate network of crosshatches to add weight to the image and give texture to the overall surface while using pastel colors to provide matter into the form.

In the present lot, he portrays a woman lying seductively on a bed, her hair loose, and eyes wide and hypnotic towards an unknown viewer. Her body is draped in a light cloth that silhouetted her curves, while one of her shoulders is bare. Posed as if playing with her long slender fingers, the provocative gesture enhances the enigmatic situation and showcases the artist’s masterful understanding of both human form and relationships. He depicted her with extremely agile body parts slightly cropped against a background that seems to vanish. Jogen essentially crops the central image to conceal some parts in some of his more recent works; he explained, "The moment I show the entire figure, the interest in the details would be lost[...]."

Jogen Chowdhury

(b. 1939)
Born in 1939 in erstwhile Bengal, now Bangladesh, Jogen Chowdhury studied at Government College of Arts and Crafts, Kolkata, the Studio Academy of Fine Arts, Kolkata, and the Ecole Nationale Superieure des Beaux-Arts, Paris. His most recent solo exhibitions include ‘Jogen Chowdhury: Formative to Recent’, Centre of International Modern Art (CIMA), Kolkata, in 2014; ‘Lignes de Meditation’, Gallery Veda, Chennai, in 2012-13; ‘A Calligraphy of Touch and Gaze’ by Kalakriti Art Gallery at ICIA, Mumbai, in 2008; Vadehra Art Gallery, New Delhi, in 2007; the Centre of International Modern Art (CIMA), Kolkata, in 2006; and Bose Pacia, New York, in 2002. Chowdhury’s works have been exhibited in several group shows including ‘Ideas of the Sublime’, presented by Vadehra Art Gallery at Lalit Kala Akademi, New Delhi, in 2013; ‘Figure / Landscape: Part Two’, Aicon Gallery, London, in 2010-11; ‘Dali’s Elephant’, Aicon Gallery, London, ‘Paper Trails’, Vadehra Art Gallery, New Delhi, ‘Pretty Ugly’, Bose Pacia, Kolkata, ‘Image and symbol: Painters Perception’, Aakrit Art Gallery, Kolkata, in 2010; ‘Modern Continuous’, Galerie 88, Kolkata, in 2009; ‘Inverting, Inventing, Traditions’, Grosvenor Vadehra, London, in 2007; Drawing Show an Act of Art II’, Priyasri Art Gallery, Mumbai, in 2006; those by Saffronart and Pundole Art Gallery, New York, in 2002 and 2001; the ‘Festival of India’ Geneva, in 1989; the II Havana Biennale, in 1986; and the Sao Paulo Biennale, in 1979. He was awarded the Kalidas Samman by the Madhya Pradesh State Government in 2001, the Shiromani Award, Kolkata, in 1997, and the Prix le France de la Jeune Peinture in 1966. The artist lives and works in Shantiniketan, West Bengal.