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Lot Details

Signed 'KKhanna' (lower right)
Further signed, titled, and inscribed 'KKhanna / "Emmaus" / KRISHEN KHANNA / Oil on canvas' (on the reverse)

Grosvenor Gallery, London
Private collection, Dubai

India Art Fair 2017, Grosvenor Gallery

“Krishen’s narration of the Christ story extends in an arc from the sombre Last Supper, to The Last Meeting on the Road to Emmaus. The emphatic welcoming of the Christ as social redeemer and healer in the early part of the gospels and later the revelation of his place in the holy trinity, his emergence from the sepulcher, or his triumphant ascent are no part of his oeuvre. In short, it is not Christ’s divinity but the more human aspect, of betrayal, of sloth and doubt that he has definitively depicted. Jesus Christ, Judas Iscariot and Peter are well-defined but compositionally merge with other figures” (Gayatri Sinha, Krishen Khanna – A Critical Biography, Vadehra Art Gallery, New Delhi, 2001, p. 138).

One of the most versatile artists of the modernist tradition, Krishen Khanna is often mistaken to be a Christian, for his extensive depiction of Christian themes. His ability to fashion subjects distant from his apparent self is a skill born from the times he lived in. Khanna was both witness and participant to one of India’s most turbulent political phases. It is the ferment he experienced, both within and without, that bears its stamp on his works.

‘The series gains significance not only because of its appearance during the emergency-a period of midnight arrests, censorship of the press and a repressive state machinery-but because of kinship it shares with Khanna’s other work of 1970’s, in a climate in which power masquerades as order, and colonial laws which are hostile to the subject are still operative.’ (Gayatri Sinha, Krishen Khanna: The Embrace of Love, Mapin Publishing, Ahmedabad, 2005, p. 17)

Krishen Khanna

(b. 1925)
Born in 1925, in Lahore, Krishen Khanna worked as a banker while he studied painting as a part time programme at the Mayo School of Art. A job transfer brought him in close proximity with the members of the Progressive Artists’ Group in Mumbai, where he chose to pursue a full-time career as an artist. In 1962-63 Khanna received a fellowship from the Rockefeller Council, New York and was artist-in-residence at the American University, Washington DC. In 2010, Saffronart hosted a retrospective of his work at the Lalit Kala Akademi, New Delhi. His other solo exhibitions include those held by Saffronart in association with Osborne Samuel and Berkeley Square Gallery at the Royal Academy, London, in 2007; Saffronart and Berkeley Square Gallery, London, in 2005; Pundole Art Gallery, Mumbai 2004; Vadehra Art Gallery, New Delhi, 1994; and Kumar Art Gallery, New Delhi, 2001, 1966, 64, 60, 59 and 58. His works were also included in exhibitions held by Saffronart and Pundole Art Gallery, New York, in 2001 and 2002. In 2011, the Government of India awarded him with the Padma Bhushan; in 2004 he received the Lalit Kala Ratna from the President of India; and in 1997 he received the Kala Ratna from the All India Fine Arts and Crafts Society, New Delhi. Khanna lives and works in New Delhi.