1 更多

Untitled (Bird, Tree and Mountain Series)

Untitled (Bird, Tree and Mountain Series)
signed and dated 'J. Swaminathan 71' (on the reverse)
oil on canvas
49 1/8 x 50 1/8 in. (124.8 x 127.7 cm.)
Painted in 1971
Gallery Chemould, Mumbai
Private Collection, Switzerland
Christie's New York, 21 March 2007, lot 25
Acquired from the above
The Taj Magazine, vol. 14, no. 4, p. 81 (illustrated)


Nishad Avari
Nishad Avari Specialist, Head of Department


“The bird is there – constantly and faithfully – as a messenger and a message; as one’s redemption. And it sings hymns of awareness, coaxingly and persuasively, as a perforation in space releasing the all-enveloping presence. But the bird is not bird: It is also snake, tree and leaf, linking up and holding together spaces and pointing to more. And the mountain is also cloud, human torso and curtain, mischievously inviting to be parted to reveal the vistas beyond” (S. Navlakha, Fleeting Images, New Delhi, 1979, p. 4).

Simultaneously an art purist and rebel, Jagdish Swaminathan held a uniquely spiritual set of artistic views, stemming from his belief in the natural and the mystical. A lifelong advocate for rural subjectivities in a largely insular modern art scene, Swaminathan drew inspiration from movements such as Surrealism, free association and symbolism, as well as from the tribal Indian art he encountered throughout his life.

In the late 1960s and early 70s, when the present lot was painted, Swaminathan began to shirk his early indigenous aesthetic in favor of pictorial landscape designs based around the archetypal forms of mountain, bird and tree, all the while preserving the ephemeral quality he was renowned for. Delicately applying thin washes of oil paints, Swaminathan explored color in these works both as a function of form and the infinite, inspired by Indian miniature painting traditions.

In this monumental example, the artist endows nature with a sublime quality by borrowing from the bright palettes of classical Indian paintings, notably 17th century Pahari painting. Here, Swaminathan’s landscape is a horizonless space with mountains hovering at different angles in defiance of mass and gravity. The artist creates flat geometric planes of color resembling those of Paul Klee, yet juxtaposes them with a recognizable Kingfisher on the left and a playful spider dangling from a fine thread on the right. This exceptionally playful attitude sets this particular painting apart from others in the artist’s iconic Bird, Tree and Mountain series.

Reduced to their bare essentials, Swaminathan’s landscapes demonstrate the sanguine potential of simplicity in expressing universal experiences. As art historian Geeta Kapur notes, “Swaminathan treats images like the numen in nature – that is metaphorically, but in a sense where the metaphor is now detached from the material-mythical world, and lifted into the ethereal spheres of lyric art and poetry” (G. Kapur, Contemporary Indian Art, London, 1982, p. 7).

更多来自 南亚现代 + 当代艺术