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Khakhar: Idiot (custom print)
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          Artwork details

          Idiot, 2003, 2003
          Bhupen Khakhar
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          Watercolour and metallic paint on paper. 46.5 x 34.5 cm. Collection of Brian Weinstein © Estate of Bhupen Khakhar

          Painted in 2003, the year of Khakhar’s death, this disconcerting picture combines compassion and ridicule with the artist’s characteristic sensitivity. Daubed with gold paint, it depicts a large figure pulling grotesquely at his face while urinating into his shoe. His eyes, steady and impenetrable, gaze out at the viewer in seeming complicity, oblivious to the mockery of a smaller figure.

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          Artist details

          A key figure in 20th century painting, Bhupen Khakhar’s pictures depict the world with unflinching honesty and deep humanity. Born in Bombay in 1934, he worked as an accountant by day and painted in his spare time. His portraits of hairdressers, shopkeepers and accountants challenged the art establishment, recasting the ordinary lives of normal lower-middle class Indians into grand, vibrantly coloured compositions. His later works confronted issues of sexuality and identity. These uncompromising and provocative works were often autobiographical, a means through which he addressed his own homosexuality with rare sensitivity and wit.

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