Natvar BHAVSAR, E-JNA Enlarge 1 /1


India born 1934

  • to United States of America 1962

E-JNA 1970 Materials & Technique: paintings, dry pigment and synthetic polymer paint on canvas

Primary Insc: signed and dated verso c.r., synthetic polymer paint, "Natvar Bhavsar/ Dec.70"
Dimensions: 274.2 h x 113.0 w cm
Acknowledgement: Purchased 1981
Accession No: NGA 81.3045
  • the artist;
  • from whom bought by the Australian National Gallery, March 1981

Of the paintings, SHA-DHA and E-JNA, which were painted in November and December 1970 respectively, the artist has written:

The titles of these paintings are non-referential and do not represent any particular meaning for these works. I choose titles for my paintings largely from ancient Sanskrit terminology. They often refer to either musical compositions, past events, places of historical reference, etc., even nature. These two particular titles are only selected for their sound. My paintings are totally abstract, and I prefer not to have the viewer led by the suggestion of the title. The paintings were painted with dry pigments with many, many layers on canvas saturated with acrylic medium.1

Bhavsar's technique consists of brushing dry pigment through a screen onto a horizontal canvas previously coated with an acrylic binder which holds the pigment. The process of sifting the pigment may be repeated as many as eighty times for a single work, using different pigments and adjusting the distance between screen and canvas to vary the density of colour. Bhavsar credits the origin of this distinctive technique to his Indian background.

In India, there is an old tradition that for each holiday, people create color decorations. You take color into a pouch and pour it through a screen onto the ground. When I was only twenty, the secretary of a college student group asked me if I would participate in a school celebration by creating a decoration in the hall on the floor. I did a very large painting, 80' long and 10' to 15' wide. So I have been working in that method since my childhood.2

Michael Lloyd & Michael Desmond European and American Paintings and Sculptures 1870-1970 in the Australian National Gallery 1992 p.406.

  1. Natvar Bhavsar, correspondence with the Gallery, 23 September 1987.
  2. Cynthia Goodman, 'Interview with Natvar Bhavsar', Arts Magazine, vol.55, no. 6, February 1977, p.13.

Text © National Gallery of Australia, Canberra