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Modern and Contemporary South Asian Art / Jamil Naqsh (Pakistani, 1938-2019) Figure with Pigeon II

Lot 13
Jamil Naqsh
(Pakistani, 1938-2019)
Figure with Pigeon II
24 May 2022, 13:00 BST
London, New Bond Street

£40,000 - £60,000


Jamil Naqsh (Pakistani, 1938-2019)

Figure with Pigeon II
signed and dated '06 lower left and signed verso
oil on canvas
122 x 91cm (48 1/16 x 35 13/16in).


Acquired by the vendor from Albermarle Gallery, London in 2009.

Albermarle Gallery, Jamil Naqsh: A retrospective, plate 51, 2011.
Nigaah Magazine: Arts and Culture from South Asia, Volume.1, Seventy Three, 2018.

For similar works sold in these rooms, see Modern and Contemporary Arab, Iranian, Indian and Pakistani Art, Dubai, 3rd March 2008, lot 115 and Modern and Contemporary South Asian Art, London, 27th May 2016, lot 59.

Jamil Naqsh is perhaps best known for his two leitmotif's, images of pigeons, or of pigeons and women combined, as evidenced in the present lot. These motifs are important in Naqsh's oeuvre and possess numerous meanings. One such meaning is that the birds represent domestic harmony drawn from memories of his childhood in Kairana, where birds used to frequent his family home. They would fly in and out through open windows, strut around the courtyard and peck at the grains left for them, whilst the depiction of women could be seen to be reminiscent of his mother, who passed away whilst he was still a child. These works could also be interpreted as being deeply romantic, with the pigeons being seen as messengers of love.

Naqsh was influenced by various artists and artistic movements. Some of these included Mughal miniature painting, the erotic reliefs on the temples of Khajuraho, Puri and Bhuvaneshwar created between 950 and 1150 c.e., European and American Modernism and the European Old Masters. Naqsh's success lay in his ability to merge the techniques of these various schools, and to come up with his own idiom. In the present work, from the latter part of his career, we can see the fusion of Cubist elements and the geometrical division of the pictorial space, and yet the work is distinctly modern in its abstraction and lack of ornamentation. Far from Naqsh's depiction of the same subject being seen as repetitive, it is testament to his abilities that he managed to stay engaged and explore the same subject continually, in minute detail and in an infinite variety of tones and textures. To see more examples of these works from across his artistic career, see Mohatta Palace Museum, Karachi, Jamil Naqsh: A retrospective, 2003, pp. 60-107.

Saleroom notices

The work was acquired by the vendor from Albemarle Gallery in 2012, and not 2009 as stated in the catalogue.

Additional information