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JAMIL NAQSH

A RETROSPECTIVE


JAMIL NAQSH

A RETROSPECTIVE

This exhibition entitled ‘A Retrospective’ is collectively comprised of works painted within the past five years by Jamil Naqsh, the acclaimed modern master from the Indian sub-continent. Enclosed within this catalogue is a detailed analysis of auction results achieved in London, New York and Dubai at Christie’s, Sotheby’s and Bonhams. This emphatically illustrates his appeal to collectors at an international level beyond the confines of the modern and contemporary Indian and Pakistani Art Market. I would like to extend my thanks to Andy Somerford for the elegant catalogue design, to Alessandro Lorenzetti for the indepth Art Market Analysis and Edward Lucie-Smith for his erudite and eloquent essay, which gives an insight into the fascinating and cultured nature and character of Jamil Naqsh and his work. Tony Pontone Albemarle Gallery

ALBEMARLE


In a still rapidly expanding art world, Jamil Naqsh holds a key position. He is the best known contemporary artist from Pakistan, long famous in his own country, and also well-established in international auctions. This is, however, his first solo show in London, where he now lives as a recluse. It is not a full retrospective, but it takes up some of the major themes of his career. It also reflects, not just the culture of Pakistan, but also that of the whole of the Indian subcontinent, both Muslim and non-Muslim. In particular, there are many echoes of the imperial Mughal regime that once ruled the whole of India. At the same time, the exhibition demonstrates how an artist with major gifts, coming from this background, has been able to enter into a fruitful relationship with western Modernism, and thus link himself to what is now a worldwide community of visual artists. Naqsh was not born in what is now Pakistan, but at Kairana in Uttar Paradesh, India the second youngest child in a cultivated Muslim family. His mother died when he was very young. At the time of partition (1947), he moved to Karachi, leaving his father behind. Naqsh was never to see him again. When he briefly returned to Kairana at the age of fourteen, after his father’s death, he realized it could no longer be his home. His destiny was now in Pakistan. When he decided that his destiny was to be an artist, there seemed to be two paths open to him. One was to become a painter using European techniques, by studying at the Mayo School in Lahore (now the National College of Arts). The other was to learn the traditional methods of Mughal miniature painting, which had never been completely lost. He decided that the two approaches were not mutually exclusive. At the same time, he was, like the other young Pakistani artists of his generation, exposed to the main figures in European Modernism, and also to works by the major European Old Masters – not through seeing the originals, but through images in books and magazines. Theirs was perhaps the first generation in Pakistan to benefit from the postWorld War II revolution in colour printing. In this exhibition, for example, there are a number of paintings inspired by the work of the Italian sculptor Marino Marini. Shaukat Aziz, formerly Prime Minister of Pakistan, and now also resident in London, remembers giving Jamil Naqsh newly published books about this artist, and his immediate excitement on receiving them. Another source of inspiration, inevitably, was Picasso; and yet another was the work of the great French neo-classicist, Jean-Dominique Ingres. The impact made by Ingres is particularly interesting, since Ingres, in some paintings, was a leader of the ‘orientalist’ tendency in 19th century Europeanart, since fiercely condemned by Edward Said. Naqsh re-absorbs Ingres, and re-forges links to the sensuous, erotic tradition that plays so large a part in Mughal miniature painting.


The sources Naqsh uses are in fact very diverse. One sees not only the impact of Mughal work, and of European masters, such as those I have just named, but also that of pre-Islamic Indian sculpture – in particular the erotic reliefs on the temples of Khajuraho,Puri and Bhuvaneshwar, which were created between 950 and 1150 c.e. Clearly what attracted him to these was their celebration of the female body. Naqsh’s paintings of female nudes have an extraordinary, quasisculptural plasticity, so much so that they almost seem to invite one to touch them. One of the things that one learns from this series of nudes is that Naqsh’s attitude to his artistic sources is nonhierarchical. He sees the works of art that interest him as things-in-themselves, outside the framework of conventional art history. This makes him an important forerunner: he arrived at the philosophical and aesthetic position we now describe as ‘Post Modern’ long before most of his colleagues and rivals in the West. As this exhibition demonstrates, Naqsh’s work has long tended to develop in series, though the themes on occasion overlap. In Pakistan he is probably most loved for his images of pigeons, or of women and pigeons combined. These birds have a deep personal meaning for him. As a child, he saw them flying in and out of the courtyard of the family house. In personal terms, they offer a nostalgic glance backwards – a glimpse of the familiar, the domestic, the soothing - of the pleasures of traditional family life, snatched away from him by the trauma of his mother’s early death, followed by the violence of Partition. They also, however, refer to a deeply romantic element in the tradition of the art of the Indian subcontinent, specifically the art forms associated with the princely courts of the Mughal epoch, both Muslim and Hindu. This comment applies not only to art, but other, non-visual forms of artistic expression, such as poetry and music. The ghazal poetry of the great 19th century Urdu poet Mirza Ghalib, known to Urdu speakers throughout the world, has had a particular influence on Naqsh’s work. One striking feature of poems in ghazal form is that their over-riding subject is love. Each is the representation of a particular emotional moment. This is also true of those paintings by Naqsh where images of women and pigeons are combined. The pigeons are, in this case, the secret messengers of love. This particular group of images may help to explain Naqsh’s decision to become a recluse, at a time when he might be enjoying his considerable celebrity, in Pakistan and elsewhere. It is not that he wholly rejects the world outside. He reads newspapers and books, he watches the news on television. He is interested in music, literature and philosophy. Yet he also feels a need to listen tranquilly to the inner voices that guide his work. What happens in his head eventually gives birth to the images he allows us to see. Edward Lucie-Smith Art Historian, Critic and Writer


1 Arched Embrace oil on canvas 71 x 71 cm (28 x 28 in)

2 Entwined oil on canvas 71 x 71 cm (28 x 28 in)


3 Arched Back oil on canvas 71 x 71 cm (28 x 28 in)

4 Entwined I oil on canvas 71 x 71 cm (28 x 28 in)


5 Reclining Nude oil on canvas 91 x 183 cm (36 x 72 in) 6 Reclining Nude I oil on canvas 102 x 152 cm (40 x 60 in)


7 Reclining Nude & Pigeon oil on canvas 91 x 183 cm (36 x 72 in) 8 Reclining Nude II oil on canvas 102 x 152 cm (40 x 60 in)


9 Reclining Nude III oil on canvas 71 x 91 cm (28 x 36 in)

10 Nude oil on canvas 71 x 91 cm (28 x 36 in)


11 Entwined II oil on canvas 71 x 91 cm (28 x 36 in)

12 Reclining Nude IV oil on canvas 71 x 91 cm (28 x 36 in)


13 Reclining Nude V oil on canvas 71 x 91 cm (28 x 36 in)

14 Reclining Nude VI oil on canvas 71 x 91 cm (28 x 36 in)


15 Reclining Nude VII oil on canvas 71 x 91 cm (28 x 36 in)

16 Entwined III oil on canvas 71 x 91 cm (28 x 36 in)


17 Arched Embrace I oil on canvas 71 x 71 cm (28 x 28 in)

18 Resting Figure oil on canvas 76 x 76 cm (30 x 30 in)


19 Nude I oil on canvas 71 x 71 cm (28 x 28 in)

20 Nude II oil on canvas 71 x 71 cm (28 x 28 in)


21 Reclining Nude VIII oil on canvas 76 x 102 cm (30 x 40 in)


22 Nude III oil on canvas 91 x 71 cm (36 x 28 in)


23 Two Pigeons oil on canvas 61 x 61 cm (24 x 24 in)

24 Figure & Pigeon oil on canvas 89 x 89 cm (35 x 35 in)


25 Conte oil on canvas 61 x 61 cm (24 x 24 in)

26 Love the Pigeons oil on canvas 61 x 61 cm (24 x 24 in)


27 Devotees oil on canvas 61 x 61 cm (24 x 24 in)

28 Parental Duties oil on canvas 61 x 61 cm (24 x 24 in)


29 Opposites Attract oil on canvas 61 x 61 cm (24 x 24 in)

30 Nudes & Pigeons oil on canvas 61 x 61 cm (24 x 24 in)


31 Caged oil on canvas 61 x 61 cm (24 x 24 in)

32 Holy Place oil on canvas 61 x 61 cm (24 x 24 in)


33 Pigeon Mosaic oil on canvas 122 x 91 cm (48 x 36 in)


34 God Save the Pigeons oil on canvas 76 x 102 cm (30 x 40 in)


35 Picasso Pigeons oil on canvas 76 x 102 cm (30 x 40 in)


36 Portrait with Pigeon oil on canvas 91 x 71 cm (36 x 28 in)


37 Portrait with Pigeon I oil on canvas 91 x 61 cm (36 x 24 in)


38 Portrait with Pigeon II oil on canvas 91 x 61 cm (36 x 24 in)


39 Portrait with Pigeon III oil on canvas 91 x 61 cm (36 x 24 in)


40 Portrait with Pigeons oil on canvas 91 x 61 cm (36 x 24 in)


41 Nude with Horse oil on canvas 71 x 71 cm (28 x 28 in)


42 Nude with Horse I oil on canvas 91 x 61 cm (36 x 24 in)


43 Nude with Horse II oil on canvas 76 x 61 cm (30 x 24 in)


44 Nude with Horse III oil on canvas 89 x 61 cm (35 x 24 in)


45 Nude with Horse IV oil on canvas 76 x 61 cm (30 x 24 in)


46 Nude with Horse V oil on canvas 76 x 61 cm (30 x 24 in)


47 Nude with Horse VI oil on canvas 71 x 71 cm (28 x 28 in)

48 Nude with Horse VII oil on canvas 71 x 71 cm (28 x 28 in)


49 Figure with Pigeon oil on canvas 122 x 91 cm (48 x 36 in)


50 Figure with Pigeon I oil on canvas 152 x 102 cm (60 x 40 in)


51 Figure with Pigeon II oil on canvas 122 x 91 cm (48 x 36 in)


52 Figure with Pigeon III oil on canvas 122 x 76 cm (48 x 30 in)


53 Figure with Pigeon IV oil on canvas 122 x 91 cm (48 x 36 in)


54 Figure with Pigeons oil on canvas 122 x 76 cm (48 x 30 in)


55 Figure with Pigeon V oil on canvas 122 x 91 cm (48 x 36 in)


56 Figure with Pigeons I oil on canvas 122 x 91 cm (48 x 36 in)


57 Figure with Pigeon VI oil on canvas 122 x 91 cm (48 x 36 in)


58 Figure with Pigeons II oil on canvas 122 x 91 cm (48 x 36 in)


Jamil Naqsh & Edward Lucie-Smith 1939 1953

25 December, Born in Kairana Uttar Paradesh, India Studied Indian miniature painting with the late Ustad Mohammad Sharif, National Collage of Arts, Lahore

Honours and Awards 2009 2003 1989 1982 1980 1968 1962 1961

Awarded Sitara-e-Imtiaz - Pakistan Jamil Naqsh; A Retrospective, An extensive retrospective exhibition at Mohatta Palace Museum, Karachi (to date the only artist to have been thus honoured in his lifetime) Pride of Performance Award, Pakistan 1989 Pursuit of ‘Excellence Award, The Artist Association of Punjab, Pakistan Contribution of 20 years as 2 painter, Arts Council of Pakistan Shakir Ali Award, Ministry of Culture, Government of Pakistan First prize, national competition by Hamdard National Foundation for poster design to find a cure for cancer, for display and distribution by W.H.O Gold Medal, Pakistan Arts Council, Karachi First prize, Women’s International Club, Karachi

Solo Exhibitions 2010 2009 2008 2005 2003 2001 1999 1998 1997 1996 1971 1967 1965 1963 1962

Pigeons and a slice of light, Momart art Gallery, Capital Club, Dubai Pigeons and a slice of light, Momart art Gallery and Jamil Naqsh Museum, Karachi Homage to Picasso, Momart art Gallery and Jamil Naqsh Museum, Karachi Homage to Picasso, Nitanjali Art Gallery, at Galerie Romain Rolland, Alliance Francaise de Delhi Studio Glass Art Gallery, London Jamil Naqsh: A Retrospective, Mohatta Palace Museum, Karachi Jamil Naqsh for Najmi Sura, private collection of Najmi Sura, Jamil Naqsh Museum and Momart Art Gallery, Karachi Magic of the Line, Momart Art Gallery, Karachi Jamil Naqsh Museum, Karachi Jamil Naqsh Museum, formal inauguration, Karachi Homage to Marino Marini, Jamil Naqsh Museum and Momart Art Gallery, Karachi Mother and Child, dedicated to Dr. Faridon Setna, a private viewing hosted by Meher and Husain Sheriff, Trustees ofj Jamil Naqsh Foundation Private viewing hosted by Amina and Jehangir Tareen, Trustees of Jamil Naqsh Foundation, Lahore Modern Manuscripts, Momart Art Gallery, Karachi Beyond Words, The Art Gallery, lslamabad Homage to Marino Marini, Momart Art Gallery, Karachi Jamil Naqsh Foundation and Museum, established in Karachi Pakistan Arts Gallery, Karachi Pakistan Arts Council, Karachi The Pak-Brazil Friendship Association, Beach Luxury Hotel, Karachi Pakistan Arts Council, Karachi Pakistan Arts Council, Lahore


EDWARD LUCIE-SMITH Edward Lucie-Smith was born in 1933 at Kingston, Jamaica. He moved to Britain in 1946. He is an internationally known art critic and historian, also a published poet, an anthologist and a practicing photographer. He has published more than a hundred books in all, chiefly but not exclusively about contemporary art. A number of his art books are used as standard texts throughout the world.

Special Projects 1977 Mural executed in oil on canvas for the Shakir Ali Museum, Lahore 1974 Mural executed in oil on canvas for the Cancer Society of Pakistan, Karachi, for display and distribution by [he 1973 Calligraphy executed in oil on canvas for the Hamdard National Foundation 1960/8 Served as co-editor of Seep Urdu Literary Quarterly and Arts lnternational 1970-73 President, Pakistan Painters Guild

Group Exhibitions 2007 2006 2005 2004 2003 2002 2001 2000 1999 1998 1997 1995 1992 1972 1970 1964 1963 1953

Rhythms of Illumination, Nitanjali Art Gallery, Grand Hyatt, Dubai Resplendent Reveries, Nitanjali Art Gallery, Grand Hyatt, Dubai Uninterrupted Journeys, Nitanjali Art Gallery, ITC Grand Central, Mumbai Euphonic Palettes - Dubai, Nitanjali Art Gallery, Grand Hyatt, Dubai Euphonic Palettes, Nitanjali Art Gallery, Galerie Romain Rolland, Alliance Francaise de Delhi, sponsored by Deutsche Bank Pakistani Master’s Show, Nitanjali Art Gallery at Park Hotel, New Delhi Ibteda - The Beginning, Gandhara - Art.com (Pakistan’s virtual exhibition) Paintings and Sculptures by 45 Artists, Momart Art Gallery, Karachi lndian Art Unbound II, Nitanjali Art Gallery at the Grand Hyatt, Dubai Miniature Show, Momart Art Gallery, Karachi Modern Calligraphic Paintings & Ceramics, Momart Art Gallery, Karachi Recent paintings by 23 Painters, Momart Art Gallery, Karachi Modern Calligraphic Paintings & Ceramics, Momart Art Gallery, Karachi Modern Calligraphic Paintings & Ceramics, Momart Art Gallery, Karachi Modern Calligraphic Paintings & Ceramics, Momart Art Gallery, Karachi Water Colour by 20 Painters, Momart Art Gallery, Karachi Paintings by 15 Painters, Momart Art Gallery, Karachi Recent Paintings by 20 Painters, Momart Art Gallery, Karachi Drawings, Prints & Etchings, Momart Art Gallery, Karachi Modern Calligraphic Paintings & Ceramics, Momart Art Gallery, Karachi Modern Calligraphic Paintings & Ceramics, Momart Art Gallery, Karachi Water Colour Exhibition, Momart Art Gallery, Karachi Group Show, Momart An Gallery, Karachi India Asia Museum, Pasadena, CA, U.S.A Trivandrun and New Delhi Painters from Pakistan, Pakistan National Council of Arts in Paris, London, Munich, New York, Sao Paulo, Tokyo, Italy, Libya, Morocco, Ghana and Sudan Gallerie Christoph Durr, Munich, West Germany Painters from Pakistan, Ceylon Painters from Pakistan, Nepal National Art Competition, Multan


Photography by Guy Lockwood

© ALBEMARLE GALLERY MMXI


ALBEMARLE

Jamil Naqsh: A Retrospective  

Jamil Naqsh is generally – and deservedly – thought of as Pakistan’s most prominent representative in the rapidly expanding universe of cont...

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