AKBAR PADAMSEE (1928-2020)
Untitled (Metascape)
signed and dated 'PADAMSEE 07' (lower right)
oil on canvas
36 x 54 in. (91.5 x 137.2 cm.)
Painted in 2007
Sotheby's New York, 24 March 2010, lot 153
Acquired from the above
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Lot Essay

Akbar Padamsee’s Metascapes, a series of paintings the artist began in the early 1970s, represent his long and distinctive involvement with the genre of landscape. As the word Metascape suggests, in these paintings Padamsee is concerned with the mythic or archetypal landscape, which is expressed visually by a stringent ordering of timeless elements, such as the earth, the sun and the moon, in temporal space. “Rather than an intent to describe the natural world per se, the artist’s object was the total conceptual and metaphysical ken of his visual environment, with his paintings impressing an immediate perceptual experience that relied on expression and sensation rather than realist recognition.” (B. Citron, ‘Akbar Padamsee's Artistic “Landscape” of the 1960s’, Akbar Padamsee, Work in Language, Mumbai, 2010, p. 195)

The use of a bold palette, and the importance the artist places on texture and construction, complements his choice of landscape as subject, with earthy tones offsetting vibrant reds, blues and yellows, making them even more luminescent. The colors evoke a sense of movement in an unmoving space. Yashodhara Dalmia describes Padamsee’s metascapes as “brilliantly choreographed planes of light and dark made in thick impasto which evoke mountains, field, sky and water. The controlled cadence of the colours breaks into a throbbing intensity as the artist in his most masterly works, evokes infinite time and space.” (Y. Dalmia, Indian Contemporary Art Post Independence, New Delhi, 1997, p. 17)

Padamsee’s method of construction in this painting, using a palette knife to almost sculpt his pigment, represents a graduation from his figurative modernism in favor of an aesthetic based around the potential outcomes of intense color interaction. Directly referencing traditional Indian artistic idioms and philosophical concepts in his symphony of colors, the artist evokes temporal economies of future and past, creating a newfound harmony all his own.

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