'Musicians' is an original painting on canvas by the lauded master of modern Indian painting Jamini Roy. This example is of particular note given its large scale – it is probably the largest work by the artist to be offered for sale in the last decade. The lively and joyous composition is one that Jamini Roy painted multiple times in smaller-scale works, depicting five dancers in costume and with instruments. In compositions like this, Jamini Roy shows his pointed interest in local traditions of all kinds. It is well known, for example, even though his early-career paintings were done in a Western academic style, by 1925 Roy began looking instead to the folk traditions of Bengali cultures. This is especially true of folk painters or ‘patuas’ who illustrated gods and legends with broad brush strokes and bold lines. By turning to folk traditions, Roy did what several other modern artists did in the early twentieth century, in the same way that artists like Wassily Kandinsky and Constantin Brancusi turned to the folk traditions of their homes in Russia and Romania respectively. The feeling among modernists was that local traditions represented a "pure" and "untainted" approach that was lacking in Academic art. Thus by emulating the artisans outside modernity, they could break free from the constraints of the modern world.
Tempera on canvas
29.75 x 54.25 inches, canvas
36.5 x 61.5 inches, frame
Signed যামিনী রায় lower right.
Acquired directly from the artist ca. 1940-50 by a private American collector; thence by descent to the current owner.