I came across Ismail Gulgee’s “Polo Player” painting recently and thought it was amazing. My uncle is a polo player in Lahore, Pakistan and I guess I have learned to appreciate horses more through his enthusiasm and passion for the game.
For Gulgee, who was considered a well-respected artist of Pakistan in particular and the subcontinent in general, life has been a journey in many senses, giving him an intense and ethereal artistic eye. He was an award-winning, globally famous self-taught artist best known for his abstract and portrait paintings.
A few of my family members have been fortunate enough to have Gulgee draw their portraits in the past and were given some of his more abstract work as well, which was influenced by Islamic calligraphy. I remember seeing these paintings displayed prominently by family members who really admired & appreciated his work, but, unfortunately I was too young to understand its importance at that time. However, now that I am older and know more about art, I feel that I am able to better understand and appreciate his talent.
According to our friend Wikipedia, “Gulgee’s paintings have always been bright and full of color, but the paint was put on with great sensitivity, and paintings vibrate with intense feeling. Areas sing with luminous, thin color; thick blobs of paint pulsate with fiberglass tears, the brush swirls strong and free. The total effect used to be very free, yet considered and well thought out. They work enormously well, because it was all orchestrated with great care and concentration.”
Unfortunately, Guljee passed away two years ago but his art work will live on forever. I only hope that one day I am lucky enough to own a Gulgee painting as there is still plenty of his brilliant art work out there.