Lot 7
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A Set of Publications on Homi Bhabha

TITLE: Homi Bhabha as Artist
AUTHORS: Jamshed Bhabha, Karl Khandalavala, R. v. Leyden and Rustam B.J. Patel
PUBLISHER: Marg Publications
PLACE: Mumbai
YEAR: 1968
BINDING: Hardcover
Height: 12.25 in (30.6 cm)
Width: 9.25 in (23.1 cm)
Depth: 0.5 in (1.25 cm)

TITLE: Homi Jehangir Bhabha: 1909-1966
AUTHORS: Sir John Cockcroft and M.G.K. Menon
PUBLISHER: The Royal Institution of Great Britain
PLACE: London
YEAR: 1967
BINDING: Softcover
Height: 8.5 in (21.2 cm)
Width: 5.5 in (13.7 cm)
Depth: 0.1 in (0.2 cm)

In a 1934 letter he wrote to one of his most trusted friends, Mrs. Jessie Maver, Homi J. Bhabha emphatically noted, "Since I cannot increase the content of life by increasing its duration, I will increase it by increasing its intensity. Art, music, poetry and everything else that I do has this one purpose - increasing the intensity of my consciousness and life."

Born in 1909 in Bombay, Homi Jehangir Bhabha grew up in an atmosphere of learning. Surrounded by a wide range of illustrated books featuring the works of the European Masters, collected by his father Jehangir Hormusji Bhabha during his time at Oxford, Homi Bhabha encountered many of the world's masterpieces at a very young age. The access to a range of books on poetry, literature, and art, along with the opportunity to take art lessons in an academic style with Mr. Jehangir Lalkaka, ensured Bhabha's success in a variety of art competitions including several prizes for artists under 18 in the Annual Exhibitions of the Bombay Art Society.

While Bhabha's professional life was primarily occupied by scientific pursuits, he believed that it was the arts that "made life worth living." Rudy von Leyden, a close friend of Bhabha and author of the introduction that accompanied a portfolio of Bhabha's drawings published by MARG Publications, described his relationship with the arts and sciences noting, "Dr. Bhabha felt very strongly that the cerebral activity of the scientist had to find its counterpoint in the activity of the senses, in art." Bhabha's time at Cambridge provides strong evidence of this idea. He joined the Gonville and Caius College at Cambridge in 1927 to study engineering. It was here, while working in Cavendish Laboratory with physicists and mathematicians, that Bhabha discovered his passion for scientific research. The experience inspired him to pursue a second degree in mathematics at Cambridge following his graduation in engineering. During his time at Cambridge, Bhabha painted and participated in exhibitions of the Art Society, designed the scenes and decor for several plays and operas, kept up his interest in music, and immersed himself in great works of literature including Shakespeare, Shelley, and T.S. Elliot. His travels around Europe and the opportunity to witness first-hand the works of the masters that he had grown-up seeing in books had a profound effect on his style of painting.

These inspired Bhabha to abandon traditional academic styles of painting in favour of a more individualistic, expressive style. Bhabha became deeply interested in the volume and solidity of forms and shapes. His practice of infusing inanimate objects with dynamism and motion, as seen in his series of 'abstract' canvases, derived from his admiration of the Baroque and Rococo architecture and sculpture that he came across in Europe. Amongst the masters, Bhabha counted Da Vinci, Michelangelo, El Greco, and Rembrandt as those who influenced his art the most. The elongated surreal figures and shadowy backgrounds of 'Dove sono i belli momenti', regarded as Bhabha's most famous painting, show a direct influence from El Greco. Most of Bhabha's body of work is rendered in graphic mediums rather than in oil paints. Bhabha also executed a large number of figure and portrait studies on paper.

Bhabha was the founding director and a professor of physics at the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research in Mumbai. He also founded the Trombay Atomic Energy Establishment and is commonly referred to as the father of India's nuclear programme.

Homi Bhabha passed away on January 24, 1966, in an airplane crash near Mont Blanc, France.

  Lot 7 of 85  

8-9 AUGUST 2012


Winning Bid
Rs 7,128

(Inclusive of Buyer's Premium)

(Set of two)

With a foreword by Shrimati Indira Gandhi, Prime Minister of India, and a card with compliments from the High Commissioner for India, London, stamped K.N. Johry, Scientific Officer

Category: Books


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