Modern and Contemporary South Asian Art / B. Prabha (Indian, 1933-2001) Untitled (Fisherwoman)
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Christie's, Twentieth Century Indian Art, London, 5th October 1999, lot 66;
Acquired by the vendor from the above.
For similar works sold at Sotheby's see Indian Art, New York, 19th September 2007, lot 55 and Modern & Contemporary Art South Asia: India & Pakistan, New York, 18th September 2008, lot 65.
There is a Dhoomi Mal Gallery label on the reverse with the artist's name and the painting's dimensions. Dhoomimal Gallery (DMG) is India's oldest contemporary art gallery, having been established by Sh. Ram Babu Jain in 1936.
It was in the 1950s that B.Prabha developed and settled on the theme and style that is unmistakably hers, the elongated portraits of rural Indian women in their milieu. These women have been depicted singularly, as is the case with the present lot, or in groups of two or three and it is through the elongation that they have achieved a stylised grace. Prabha portrayed women from various tribal communities and focussed on important details such as their skin colour, attire, and jewellery. In this lot, the woman can be seen with flowers in her hair, a bindi, kohl rimmed eyes, lipstick and ornaments that include bangles, a mangalsutra, and earrings which subtly inform the viewer that she is a married Hindu woman. Prabha's accomplishment as an artist therefore lies in her ability to set her women against flat and seemingly undistinguished backgrounds whilst chronicling and elevating their ordinary lives at a time when the opportunities afforded to women were few and far in between.