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Modern and Contemporary South Asian Art / Sheikh Mohammed Sultan (Bangladeshi, 1923-1994) Untitled (Farmer ploughing with bulls)

The Collection of Orooj Ahmed Ali
Lot 44
Sheikh Mohammed Sultan
(Bangladeshi, 1923-1994)
Untitled (Farmer ploughing with bulls)
24 May 2022, 13:00 BST
London, New Bond Street

Sold for £5,865 inc. premium

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Sheikh Mohammed Sultan (Bangladeshi, 1923-1994)

Untitled (Farmer ploughing with bulls)
signed and dated '88 lower left
oil on jute
59.9 x 75cm (23 9/16 x 29 1/2in).


Acquired from the artist by Ruqaiyya Bano, a family friend;
Acquired by the vendor from the above.

For a scene depicting similar muscular bodies, see Christie's, South Asian Modern & Contemporary Art, New York, 14th September 2016, lot 688.

Sultan was born in Machimdia village, in what was then known as Jessore District, British India. He studied at the Government School of Art in Calcutta, where Mukul Dey, the pioneer of drypoint-etching in India was Principal. Under Dey's tutelage, students were encouraged to paint contemporary landscapes and portraits reflecting their own experiences, as opposed to copying the Old Masters and painting Indian allegorical, mythological and historical subjects. The current painting comes from Sultan's Bangladeshi period, after his 1969 solo exhibition at the Khulna Club, Khulna and the first group National Art Exhibition in Dhaka in 1975, where his works were transformed, and he started to paint and draw agricultural labourers engaged in everyday life, as can be seen in the present lot. These works are distinctive due to their exaggerated muscular physiques, which are metaphors for the hard working and sturdy peasants, who are the backbone of Bangladesh.

Sultan is seen are one of the four pioneers of Bangladeshi modernism, along with Quamrul Hassan, Zainul Abedin and Safiuddin Ahmed. He exhibited globally during his career and some notable exhibitions included those in Lahore and Karachi in 1948 and 1949, where be forged friendships with Shakir Ali and Abdur Rehman Chughtai, at the Institute of International Education, New York in 1950 and at the German Cultural Centre, Dhaka in 1987.

The Bangladeshi Shilpakala Academy, Bangladesh's principal state sponsored national cultural centre of Bangladesh introduced an award named after him, which is given out annually to a notable artist on Sultan's birth anniversary. He also received the Ekushey Padak in 1982, which is Bangladesh's highest civilian national award in the field of culture. His works form part of the collections of the National Art Gallery, Bangladesh; the Bangladesh National Museum, the Bengal Foundation and the SM. Sultan Memorial Museum.

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