US$5,000 - US$7,000
Global Head, Himalayan & Southeast Asian Art
Head of Sale, NY & HK - Indian, Himalayan & Southeast Asian Art
Like any of Nainsukh's work, distinctive for its psychological probing, this portrait rewards the slow contemplation of its subject's expression. The young man seated before us, head titled slightly forward, seems deferential yet confident in his abilities. A light pink wash and a touch of apricot to the lips brings him to life on the page.
This preparatory likeness is certainly routed within Nainsukh's studio—and parts, if not all, could very well be by the studio master's hand. Especially the face, which exhibits kindred renderings of the brows, wispy facial hair, and deft shading around the eye sockets, ears, and neck employed for a study of Mian Zorawar Singh and Balwant Singh by Nainsukh (Goswamy & Fischer, Nainsukh of Guler, 1997, p. 91, no. 21). Moreover, the present figure's silhouette, turban, pleated garment, and sword draw an immediate likeness with a Nainsukh portrait of an unknown sitter (ibid., p. 249, no. 98). In fact, were the faces obscured, one would reasonably presume both studies represented the same person. However, as confident and unfaltering the rendering of the present subject's face is, there are a few discrete corrections to the bodily proportions that might prompt one to surmise are either the result of additions by a less experienced hand or the master's own practice.
Moti Chandra, Mumbai
Pramod Chandra, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1964-2014
American Private Collection
Dr. Moti Chandra, the eminent art historian, author, numismatist, and Indologist, was Director of the Prince of Wales Museum of Western India (Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya) for over thirty years. His son, Dr. Pramod Chandra, was Harvard University's George P. Bickford Professor of Indian and South Asian Art for twenty-four years and was described in a tribute in the Harvard Gazette as an "exemplar of the most exacting standards in the scholarship of Indian art history." As well as a beloved professor, Pramod Chandra was a celebrated author and curator, including guest curator of the renowned 1985 exhibition "The Sculpture of India" at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. The contributions of both father and son to the appreciation and understanding of Indian art cannot be overstated.