Manjit Bawa: the only pure abstract work recorded on canvas

The artwork shows a “free-floating form” signed and dated lower right, Manjit Bawa, 1977, Oil on Canvas, 36 x 53 inches, with impeccable provenance.

 Manjit Bawa, Untitled (Free-Floating Form), 1977, Oil on Canvas

As per the Artprice database - likely the earliest Manjit canvas recorded and his only abstract work on canvas recorded. A few silkscreen works on paper created in 1977 are documented:

The “floating form” is the basic building block of any Manjit artwork. Refer to the image below - all elements are constructed using the “free-floating form” stacked and in various proportions.

Sotheby's June 2019, MANJIT BAWA, Untitled (Woman)

Bawa's works remain to be all at once, an assertion and negation of tradition. He was the first artist in India to set his canvas ablaze with striking pinks, violets, and greens on large spaces. Having begun his career as a Silkscreen printer, he was not oblivious to the impact of strong and flat colours in the background. He was constantly inspired to look for fresh colours on his palette, bringing in pastel hues that were not commonly explored by Indian artists. His obsession with Sufi poetry and elements visible in signature rounded forms suspended against an endless sky of colours. His palette brimming with rich reds, oranges, yellows, greens, and blues- reminiscent of Indian elements. 

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