Lot 232: SADEQUAIN (1930-1987)
South Asian Modern + Contemporary Art
June 10, 2010
London, United Kingdom
Line of Figures
signed, inscribed, titled and dated '(SADEQUAIN) "LINE of FIGURES" Painted at Karachi March '63' (on the reverse)
oil on canvas
35½ x 70¼ in. (90.1 x 178.4 cm.)
Painted in 1963
PROPERTY FROM THE COLLECTION OF THE LATE AGA HILALY, PAKISTAN'S AMBASSADOR AND HIGH COMMISSIONER TO INDIA, SWEDEN, UNITED KINGDOM AND UNITED STATES
No VAT will be charged on the hammer price, but VAT at 17.5% will be added to the buyer's premium, which is invoiced on a VAT inclusive basis.
One of Pakistan's best known and most prolific painters, Sadequain came from a family of calligraphers. Living primarily in Paris from 1960 to 1967 he received an award from the Biennale de Paris in 1961, while he regularly visited Pakistan to exhibit his work. Line of Figures sees him utilising an idiosyncratic version of the Muslim 'tugra' or unique calligraphic signature, intertwined with his interpretation of European avant-garde art. It has been suggested that he was most obviously influenced by Cubism and Constructivism and here as in other works of the period, the artist's line derives as much from this in combination with his own traditions, as from the vitality of nature. There is a sense of flexibility and movement following a strong horizontal axis, yet in its calligraphic roots there is a readable and layered organization of form to this work. Upon closer inspection, the figures are more easily decipherable in the foreground and take on an abstracted, skeletal form. They appear to stand in front of a line of vegetation of similar hue, and spatial layers are indicated in this way.
Throughout his career the artist undertook several large scale public works, most notably the murals in the Lahore Museum. As historically documented, the interest in such art forms reached its peak in the mid-seventies when a calligraphy competition was organised in conjunction with the Islamic Summit of 1974 in Lahore, to which Sadequain contributed a painting.
Sadequain and dignitaries in front of Lot 232, Line of Figures, circa 1963. Image provided courtesy of the SADEQUAIN Foundation, San Diego, California
His Excellency Aga Hilaly joined the elite Indian Civil Service in 1936 to begin a successful career as a diplomat. Post Independence Mr. Hilaly was posted to India in 1960 and was transferred to the United Kingdom as High Commissioner in 1963. He also served the United Nations and was the recipient of several national and international awards such as Hilal-i-Quiad-I-Azam, Grand Cross Order of Northern Star from Sweden and Grand Cross of Order of Gurkha from Nepal.
This work was presented by Sadequain to Aga Hilaly in 1963 when the artist was renting a house from him in Karachi and has remained in the family collection since acquisition.