Bikash Bhattacharjee, ‘Flood Dear Flood’, 1982, Christie's South Asian + Chinese

Flood Dear Flood is a striking example of Bikash Bhattacharjee's technical skill and merging surrealist-realist style. Through despair and ruin, he projects images of the sublime. Deeply influenced by 19th century Bengali culture and his Marxist beliefs, his works reflect the changing economy, hardships and moments of peril experienced by the middle-classes of Kolkata. Bhattacharjee is famous for having said, "[...] when I stand in front of an easel, what drives me on is my Leftist thinking, my ambience, my urge to live, and my struggle for survival." (M. Majunder, Bikash Bhattacharjee: Close to Events, New Delhi, 2007, p. 183)

Floods are common in Kolkata during the monsoons. The artist adds another layer of meaning by juxtaposing a child's head with stones. By likening humans to soulless, inanimate objects, he reflects his own disillusionment with the state of society around him. The figures in the painting have a refined sculptural quality. The mailbox is illustrated with tremendous realism and a skillful use of light and shadow. Bhattacharjee capitalizes on the idiosyncrasies of photography and cinema to capture an image of shocking despair.

Signature: signed and dated 'Bikash '82' (lower right); further inscribed 'FLOOD DEAR FLOOD / ARTIST:- BIKASH BHATTACHARJEE / ADDRESS:- 2D NABOKUMAR RAHALARAN / CALCUTTA 700004 / INDIA' (on the reverse)

Formerly from a Private American Collector, New York

Christie's New York, 17 September 2003, lot 201

About Bikash Bhattacharjee