Sadequain (Pakistan, 1923-1987) Crucifixion Crucifixion
Lot 18
Sadequain
(Pakistan, 1923-1987) Crucifixion
Crucifixion
Sold for £118,750 (US$ 154,278) inc. premium

Art of Pakistan

24 May 2017, 14:00 BST

London, New Bond Street

Lot Details
Sadequain (Pakistan, 1923-1987) Crucifixion Crucifixion Sadequain (Pakistan, 1923-1987) Crucifixion Crucifixion
Sadequain (Pakistan, 1923-1987)
Crucifixion
1968
Oil on canvas
198 x 88.5cm (77 15/16 x 34 13/16in).

Footnotes

  • Provenance
    From the collection of Rukhsana and Ahmed Maqsood Hamidi
    Thence by descent

    Published
    Abdul Hamid Akhund et al, Sadequain: The Holy Sinner, Mohatta Palace Museum, Karachi, 2003, p. 343

    In 1958 the internationally renowned artist, Sadequain, went into self imposed seclusion to recuperate from exhaustion. He isolated himself on the arid and unforgiving seacoast of Gadani just outside Karachi. The dense covering of cacti on the parched landscape proved to be of significant influence as he admired the defiance of the resilient plant.

    In an interview with art critic Thomas Dowling, Sadequain notes the importance of the cactus to his oeuvre: "In the anatomy of these gigantic plants I found the essence of calligraphy. Everything that I have painted since then — a city like Rawalpindi, buildings, a forest, a boat, a table or a chair, a man, a mother and child, or a woman—has been based on calligraphy, which in itself issues from the structure of the cactus." (Abdul Hamid Akhund et al, Sadequain: The Holy Sinner, Mohatta Palace Museum, Karachi, 2003, pg. 30)

    Awarded the 'Laureate de Paris' at the France Biennale in 1961, Sadequain was receiving international recognition throughout the 1960s. His critical acclaim coincided with his period of particularly heightened self awareness and Sadequain produced a series of cross hatched self-portraits such as this one. Introverted and seemingly shy, Sadequain, used his critical analysis of himself to cast criticism of wider society. As Sadequain himself said 'All my paintings, all my poetry is a crusade against hypocrisy.' (Hakim, R., Sadequain is a showman because he has something to show, The Herald, July 1985, p.113 as quoted in Sirhandi, M. N., Contemporary Painting in Pakistan, Lahore, 2006).

    A self proclaimed fakir (translated literally as 'one who lives in poverty'), Sadequain indentured himself to an aspect of Sufism, known as the malamat. 'Malamat' is a derivative of the Arabic word for blame 'malam'. The practice is focussed on the psychology of egoism and self critique. Malamati deliberately draw blame and contempt upon themselves by violating basic tenets of religious and social laws. The ultimate purpose of this lifelong idealism is to create a perfect self in a non perfect world and to mirror this perfection to the divine.

    This lot embodies a classic example of a series of works branded by Sadequain as Mystic Figurations and is characteristic of his sixties style. The subject is an anthropomorphised cactus only superficially concealing its writhing human shape. Strong arms rise towards the heavens, while clearly defined large hands occlude what little light has penetrated the dark and moody background. It demonstrates the gradual metamorphosis of the cactus image from realistic representation towards abstraction. This, of course, brings to mind Picasso's famous quote: "There is no abstract art. You must always start with something. Afterward you can remove all traces of reality." Sadequain's admiration for Picasso is well documented.

    During the later months of 1968, Sadequain was working on a collection of calligraphy based on the poetry of Mirza Ghalib. Sadequain admired Ghalib greatly and used his poetry frequently as themes throughout his paintings. One of Ghalib's quotes which seems to have stuck with Sadequain is, "The prison of life and the bondage of grief are one and the same, Before the onset of death, how can man expect to be free of grief?"

    In particular, this painting identifies with the "bondage of grief" which Ghalib speaks of. Palpable in the present in this work in part to the somber palate, Sadequain illustrates mournful forms as if draped over the viewer. "Imagination" is the self portrait of Sadequain untied with the earth along with a reflection upon his time in Paris and Gadani. During his time in both places, which are vastly different, the artist learnt more about himself, allowing his perspective on art and self to change dramatically.
Activities
Auction information

This auction is now finished. If you are interested in consigning in future auctions, please contact the specialist department. If you have queries about lots purchased in this auction, please contact customer services.

Buyers' Obligations

ALL BIDDERS MUST AGREE THAT THEY HAVE READ AND UNDERSTOOD BONHAMS' CONDITIONS OF SALE AND AGREE TO BE BOUND BY THEM, AND AGREE TO PAY THE BUYER'S PREMIUM AND ANY OTHER CHARGES MENTIONED IN THE NOTICE TO BIDDERS. THIS AFFECTS THE BIDDERS LEGAL RIGHTS.

If you have any complaints or questions about the Conditions of Sale, please contact your nearest customer services team.

Buyers' Premium and Charges

For all Sales categories excluding Wine, Coins & Medals and Motor Cars and Motorcycles:
A successful bidder at this sale will be required to pay Bonhams 1793 Limited ("Bonhams") a premium calculated as follows:
25% on the first £100,000 of the hammer price
20% on the excess of £100,001 and up to £2,000,000 of the hammer price
12% on the excess of £2,000,001 of the hammer price

VAT at 20% will be payable on the amount of the premium.

The premium is payable for the services to be provided by Bonhams in the Buyer's Agreement which is contained in the catalogue for this Sale and for the opportunity to bid for the Lot at the Sale.

Payment Notices

Payment in advance: by cash, cheque with banker's card, credit card, bank draft or traveller's cheque.

Payment at collection: by credit or debit card.

Credit card charges: a surcharge of 2% is applicable when using Mastercard, Visa and overseas debit cards.

Shipping Notices

For information and estimates on domestic and international shipping as well as export licences please contact Bonhams Shipping Department.

Contacts
  1. Tahmina Ghaffar
    Specialist - Modern and Contemporary South Asian Art
    Bonhams
    Work
    101 New Bond Street
    London, United Kingdom W1S 1SR
    Work +44 20 7468 8382
Similar Items