A Portfolio containg 10 sketch pages by Jamini Roy
Lot 43
Jamini Roy (India, 1887-1972) A collection of fifty-three small watercolour sketches, arranged in ten groups (10)
Sold for £52,800 (US$ 81,543) inc. premium

Lot Details
Jamini Roy (India, 1887-1972)
A collection of fifty-three small watercolour sketches, arranged in ten groups
watercolour and pen and ink on paper and card, depicting various figures such as drummers, dancing girls and real and imaginary animals, some on desk calendar pages from July and August 1943 and on bills, receipts and exhibition tickets, in card mounts, framed
the largest 19.5 x 15 cm.; the smallest 7 x 4 cm.; mounts 35.5 x 46 and slightly smaller(10)

Footnotes

  • Provenance:
    Private collection of a UK resident: acquired directly from the artist in Calcutta in the mid-1950s.

    A fascinating group of sketches, many of them for familiar larger works. The use of any available material, from bills and receipts to stationery, is indicative of the way Jamini Roy worked. In the introduction to an exhibition held at the Alpha Gallery in Singapore in 1972, Austin Coates (Roy's friend and patron, whose collection of Roy's work was sold in these rooms on 13th October 2005 and 6th April 2006), commented that in the 1920s 'he was too poor to buy canvases; his work of this period is done on packing-case cardboard, soft covers of books, railway timetables and telephone directories.' Such a practice obviously carried on even when he became more famous and prosperous.

    Coates also detailed the process by which a work came into being: 'A Jamini Roy picture, though it looks so spontaneous, in fact takes weeks, and sometimes months, in the making. His habit is to rise long before dawn, and sit in his studio in total darkness, thinking. After days and days of this a sketch will emerge. Days and days more will pass until he is satisfied it is in the right form. Then, with such swiftness it seems to take only a few minutes, he will paint the picture. In the ordinary way no one is allowed to see his sketches [...]' (See Alpha Gallery, Singapore, Jamini Roy - the Indian Maestro, Exhibition Catalogue, 30 April-10 May 1972, introduction and note to no. 15; also Bonhams, Islamic and Indian Art, 13th October 2005, lot 268-277, and 6th April 2006, lots 269-279).
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