Vasudeo S. Gaitonde (1924-2001) Untitled, 1963
Lot 152
Vasudeo S. Gaitonde (1924-2001)
Untitled, 1963
Sold for US$ 1,685,000 inc. premium

Lot Details
Vasudeo S. Gaitonde (1924-2001) Untitled, 1963
Vasudeo S. Gaitonde (1924-2001)
Untitled, 1963
Oil on canvas
Signed and dated verso in Devanagari गायतोंडे '६३
and in English V.S. Gaitonde, 1963, Bombay, India
Humboldt Galleries' label certifying the work is by V.S. Gaitonde,
signed and dated by Morris Graves 9/12/68 pasted verso
40 x 50 in. (101.6 x 127 cm)

Footnotes

  • Provenance:
    Morris Graves 1963-68, acquired directly from the artist in Bombay
    Morris Graves Collection, Humboldt Galleries, San Francisco, 24 October 1968, no. 6
    George Gund III Collection, 1968-2013

    Morris Graves' connection to India started with Ananda Coomaraswamy. The two shared a great interest in philosophy and metaphysics. Coomaraswamy wrote the preface to Graves' exhibition at the Willard Gallery, New York in 1947. Asia's spiritual traditions strongly informed the artist's work, among them Tantric Hinduism, Daoism, and Zen Buddhism.

    In 1963 Morris Graves visited India at the invitation of Indira Gandhi. He met her and her father, Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, in New Delhi.

    In a letter written to Nancy Wilson Ross on 18 February 1963, Graves expressed his love of Nepal's clean air and mountains, but complained of the oppressive heat of India. "Maybe this climate is essential for the experience to be total." (see Vicky Harper & Lawrence Fong, Selected Letters of Morris Graves, Seattle, 2013, p. 219).

    However, it was a visit to Gaitonde's studio with the art doyenne Pupul Jayakar on 20 February that left a most memorable impression on Graves. He savors it in an aerogram sent the very same day to Dan and Mariam Johnson of the Willard Gallery in New York:

    ...The second thing is this, today Mrs. Jayakar took me to the studio of a Bombay painter named GAITONDE – age 32[*] & one of the finest painters I have ever seen. He is very little known. He's as fine – or superb – as Mark Rothko at his best. He paints in oil – average size 34" x 26" – 38" x 48" – 5ft. x 4 ft. a fine person and will be a world-known painter one of these days. You should be the ones to show him first. I told Mrs. Jayakar so. She agreed. Said she'd help. He is 100 per cent artist – a great & sincere (+ humble - + unconscious gift). I bought 1 superb oil & six super–superb ink drawings.

    He is an abstract painter with something unspeakably beautiful & clean added. They are the most beautiful landscapes of the mind plus light and composed with very great simplicity. You too will be very awed by him....


    (*It should be noted that Gaitonde was 39 at the time)

    A copy of this letter is preserved in the Special Collections and Archives at University of Oregon Libraries and is extracted here courtesy of the Morris Graves Foundation.
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