Loading Spinner

Rabindranath Tagore (1861 - 1941)

Lot 1: Rabindranath Tagore (1861-1941) , Head of Woman Watercolor and colored inks on paper


September 18, 2008
New York, NY, US

More About this Item


Inscribed 'Head of Woman/ by/ Rabindranath Tagore/ Paper and Coloured Ink/ Jan 1939/ Property of William R Elmhurst' on the reverse of the back board Watercolor and colored inks on paper


16 by 10 in. (40.6 by 25.5 cm.)


Formerly in the collection of William Elmhurst of Dartington Hall


'People often ask me about the meaning of my pictures. I remain silent even as my pictures are. It is for them to express and not to explain.' (Rabindranath Tagore) Born in Calcutta into a wealthy Brahmo family Tagore went on to become one of the most revered poet-philosophers of his time. In 1913 he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature, the first non-Westerner to be honored with the award. A poet, author, playwright and artist, Tagore's creative output was immense. His career as a painter dates from around 1928 though he is known to have drawn sketches throughout his career. What began as doodling on his working manuscripts became an obsession after 1930 and it is thought that in the last ten years of his life he produced over two thousand pictures. His work was publicly displayed for the first time in Paris in 1930 followed by an exhibition in Calcutta in 1931. His early paintings were rendered in monochromatic schemes, followed by two-toned and three-toned drawings. Other than a pen the artist used his fingers, bits of cotton wool and rag to daub, smudge and rub the inks to create color tones of great depth and intensity. In many of his head studies there is an underlying sense of mysticism that has a mesmeric appeal. Tagore explains the process of painting as follows 'Creation is not repetition, or correspondence in every particular between the object and its artistic presentation. The world of reality is all around us. When I look at this phenomenon with my artist's eye, things are revealed in a different light which I try and recapture in my picture - call them realistic or not. There is a world of dreams and fantasies which exists only in a man's imagination. If I can but depict this in my pictures I can beat the Creator at His own game...' (Modern Indian Paintings from the National Gallery of Modern Art, New Delhi, introductory Essay).

Request more information

Modern & Contemporary Indian Art

September 18, 2008, 12:00 PM EST

New York, NY, US

For Sale from Sotheby's