Jamil Naqsh, ‘Untitled’, Christie's South Asian + Chinese

The reclusive Jamil Naqsh is one of Pakistan's most celebrated living artists. Born in Kairana, in the Uttar Pradesh province of India, his early childhood was marred by his mother's death at the age of five and by the wrenching effects of the 1947 Partition on his family. Influenced by his childhood memories of Kairana as a center for classical music, Naqsh gravitated towards the arts and studied at the Mayo School of Art under the modern miniaturist, Ustad Mohammad Sharif. Though not technically working in a miniature format, his training led him to choose calligraphy and figuration as his leitmotif. Focusing the subject of his oeuvre on the nude, the horse and the pigeon, the latter taken from the symbolic language of miniatures, Naqsh's adoration of the female form was particularly inspired by his long-time companion and fellow artist, Najmi Sura who has served as his primary muse. The pigeon or dove serves as both a poignant memory of the birds that used to fly through the windows of his ancestral home and a symbol of love, as messengers of romantic missives. More recently Naqsh has been exploring and reconceptualizing the works of Pablo Picasso as a point of inspiration, thus bringing his works a renewed vitality of line and form. "This is the independence I feel--that you can break anything and create a new order." (Jamil Naqsh Pays Homage to Pablo Picasso, Nitanjali Art Gallery, New Delhi, 2008, p. 14)

Signature: signed 'jamil Naqsh' (center right); further signed and inscribed 'jamil Naqsh / London' (on the reverse)

Christie's New York, 16 September 2009, lot 568

About Jamil Naqsh