2018 Oct 22
Modern and Contemporary South Asian Art
The Sotheby’s London Auction will be held on the 23rd of October 2018, featuring three works by George Keyt, one of the founding fathers of Sri Lankan Modernism, including pieces from the collection of the celebrated patron of Sri Lankan Art, Martin Russel. The sale will also include a charming early work of Senaka Senanayake who is best known for his lush scenes of jungle fauna and flora.
George Keyt’s oil paintings, Lovers and Nayika (Vasantha Raga), have the ‘holy grail’ of provenance for works by the artist, having once resided in the collection of Martin Russell, one of the most important patrons of Sri Lanka art of the last century.
This is a classic example of Keyt’s work from the 1930s when Cubism heavily influenced his artistic output.
Nayika (Vasantha Raga)
Another wonderful example of Keyt’s mastery; portraying all the fundamentals of his genius for colour, line and form. This piece was created in 1943,the same year in which the very first professional modernist group of artists, the Colombo ’43 Group, was formed. This was also the time when Keyt was residing in Amunugama, working on large murals in the Buddhist temple of Gotami – Vihara – an important milestone of his career.
Untitled (Couple Embracing)
This painting from the 1960s boasts similarly illustrious provenance, having once been in the collection of Christine Spittel-Wilson; a British writer who was raised in Colombo, acquiring an important collection of Sri Lankan Modernism.
Untitled (Tea Pickers)
This piece form Senaka Senanayake remained in the same private collection for thirty years. The artist is popular for his lush scenes of jungle fauna and flora, which is very popular both within the country and abroad.