Tuesday, March 31, 2015
A Gift of Appreciation...
Auction was held at Bonhom's in London on 10th June, 2015.
The Pen and Ink drawing was sold to an anonymous collector...
Sometime in the early '60s, my parents took their yearly home leave to Europe and the U.S. on an Italian liner from Singapore to Genoa. They had travelled several times before on the Lloyd Trestino ships, but this particular journey was quite eventful. One of the stops made on this route was Karachi, and they met an extraordinary man who embarked from there. He was Pakistani, and dressed in the traditional white pants and shirt national costume.
For several nights after the ship left Karachi, my mother noticed that the Pakistani gentleman ate alone,and afterwards went to the bar and sat drinking by himself all night. Feeling sorry for him, my mother befriended him and invited him to join them at their table for dinners rather than eat by himself.
Beautiful and somewhat spoilt , my mother was a very persistent woman, used to getting her way. My father was well read, cultured, and very well travelled. He had also lived for a few years in Calcutta. I think Sadequain must have found them to be pleasant and perhaps even interesting travel companions, because he spent the rest of the trip in their company every evening. I know my father enjoyed their spiritual and intellectual discourses, but my mother, on the other hand, can be over "motherly" (more like bossy) and even a bit of a nag. Apparently, she often lectured Sadequain about his drinking and his not taking good care of himself. And apparently, he took it all very well.
Sometime around 1966, my mother received a package from Paris. Sadequain sent her a letter as well as this beautiful self-portrait of himself. In the letter, which is unfortunately lost, Sadequain thanked my mother for trying to take care of him, and for her kindness to him during the trip to Europe.
My mother, unaware what a celebrated artist her shipmate was, gave me this work in 1980. I have treasured it all these years for its beauty and the gesture behind this heartfelt and generous gift from an extraordinary man and Pakistani legend, also known as the "Holy Sinner" and Pakistan's most famous artist and Calligrapher...Sadequain