N R Dhurandhar

Portrait of Hirabai Mancherji Mistry
20 x 26 Inches
Oil on Canvas
Signed in English lower right and dated 1920.

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We are pleased to present a stellar portrait of a Parsi lady named Hirabai Mistry by a largely unknown Indian master portraitist N R Dhurandhar. Executed in oil, Hirabai is depicted seated on a chair in a palatial house. Behind her on the wall hangs a picture of Zarathustra next to the clock. She is wearing a black embroidered Chinese Gara saree with fisherman, floral and Pagoda(right knee) motifs. The portrait was painted two years after her passing and was most probably painted with the aid of one of her earlier photograph.

Nevertheless the artist's mastery over the medium is evident in the rendering of the textiles, jewellery and facial features of the sitter. He uses the element of lighting intelligently by allowing it to fall on the sitter from the right side of the work illuminating the sitter, while the table to the left remains in the shadow area. There is a faint ray of light coming from the room behind the table which illuminates the bouquet. There is very limited information available on the artist's biography and oeuvre. He was active in Bombay between late nineteenth to early twentieth century and was patronised by the affluent Pathare Prabhu and Parsi community. His signature in this work is highly stylised and it appears the artist has tried to give it a drop shadow effect.