Untitled (Ajanta)

K.K Hebbar draws inspiration from a fidelity to specific surroundings and his heuristic experiences -- his paintings elucidate the harmonious synthesis of his emotive reactions to them. "My intention [...] is to integrate the representational, the metaphysical, the suggestive and symbolic in two-dimensional images in order to achieve inner satisfaction." (K.K. Hebbar, Voyage in Images, Mumbai, 1990, introduction). In this instance Hebbar depicts the extraordinary Ajanta Caves in Maharashtra - arguably the most prodigious surviving instances of ancient Buddhist painting and sculpture. In his depiction of these caves, Hebbar reveals a progressive affinity towards the abstract. 'His abstraction is distilled from nature into a clarity of form and texture that culminates in a grand simplicity of colour and design. At his peak he mastered the art of separating the superfluous from the essential." (Thimmaiah, K.K. Hebbar: An Artist's Quest, NGMA and KK Hebbar Art Foundation, Bangalore, 2011, p. 31). This seemingly abstract work still maintains elements of figurative representation, in that we are easily able to identify elements of the landscape, the mountain, the deep recess of the cave, and the contours of the iconic Buddhist relics within. Hebbar without the need for depth and naturalism creates an almost tangible impression of this reverential experience.

Signature: signed and dated in Hindi (lower left)


Formerly in the Collection of Chester and Davida Herwitz

Sotheby's New York, 12 June 1995, lot 23

About K.K. Hebbar