SOMNATH HORE (1921-2006)
THE ESTATE OF KEKOO AND KHORSHED GANDHY Property from the Collection of Rashna Imhasly-Gandhy and Behroze Gandhy
GANESH PYNE (1937-2013)


GANESH PYNE (1937-2013)
signed and dated in Bengali (lower right); bearing Chemould Frames label (on the reverse)
tempera on canvas laid on card
21½ x 23½ in. (54.6 x 59.7 cm.)
Painted in 1979


"Nature is so beautiful, it makes you feel sad. It also makes you feel elevated simultaneously. This is not a contradiction. It's like the crest and trough of a wave. The same wave, life and death, birth and rebirth [...]" - Ganesh Pyne

"What gives Pyne's work distinctiveness is the artist's involvement with his art. His life, his world, indeed his whole being is focused on this act of creation. He is most at home with his own inner world of darkness and light from which emerges the strange forms. The canvases are a reflection of this all-absorbing interior life [...] Here a rag doll or a toy horse has a life of its own and in combination with human figures convey with poignance the vulnerability and resurgence of the human spirit." (E. Datta, Ganesh Pyne: His Life and Times, CIMA Gallery, Kolkata, 1998, p. 17)

Ganesh Pyne was initially influenced by Abanindranath and Gaganendranath Tagore, of the Bengal School. However his style evolved towards a modernist approach away from the gentle decorative watercolours which characterised his early career. Pyne began using tempera as his primary medium in the mid-1960s and his longstanding experiments with indigenous powder pigments and various binding agents allowed him to develop a unique way of building up surface and texture on canvas. Ganesh Pyne was known for his meticulous draughtsmanship and delicate handling of pigment, only completing around ten paintings a year in this careful process. In this painting, Pyne displays this attention, with his exquisitely rendered reflections in the blue waters and the subtle drapery of the fleeting female figure.

As a child, Ganesh Pyne lived in an old mansion in Calcutta. His grandmother would tell him stories igniting an imagination that would later inspire him to paint masterful pieces of mysticism and fantasy.
From these childhood experiences and stories, Pyne creates visual narratives populated with skeletal forms, masks, puppets and groundless floating bodies. Pyne was fascinated by beauty, decay and impermanence and drew inspiration from religion, fables and folktales. "True darkness gives one a feeling of insecurity bordering on fear but it also has its own charms, mystery, profundity, a fairyland atmosphere." ('Ganesh Pyne in Conversation with Arany Banerjee', Lalit Kala Contemporary, April 1993 as reprinted in N. Tuli, The Flamed Mosaic: Indian Contemporary Painting, Ahmedabad, 1997, p. 55)

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