40 Years of the Deutsche Bank Collection
Bhupen Khakhar: "Woman and Boy", 1985

Max Bill’s twisted granite sculpture “Continuity,” Christo and Jeanne-Claude’s installation "The Gates" in New York's Central Park, Cao Fei’s vision of a virtual, futuristic setting in the middle of nowhere: On a monthly basis, we show a work that represents a period of contemporary history and reflects the Deutsche Bank Collection, which is celebrating its 40th birthday this year.

Bhupen Khakhar
Woman and Boy, 1985

© Bhupen Khakhar

Bhupen Khakhar’s image Woman and Boy tells a story that is as casual as it is mysterious. A boy cloaked in colorful garments looks at his mother through a window. Surrounded by butterflies, he looks like an apparition from another world, and colorful light shines into the dark apartment. The watercolor was created in 1985, when LGBTQ themes were still completely taboo in India. “When I feel I’m telling the truth, then there is no restraint,” Khakhar once said. The artist, who died in 2003, created a fascinating autobiographical work that revolved around motifs that no painter in his home country had ever touched: the life of India’s lower middle class, as well as intimate scenes that circle around sexuality, illness, and death.

Woman and Boy, which deals with homosexuality in a poetic manner, was purchased in the 1990s to furnish the Deutsche Bank branch in Mumbai. It illustrates the early global orientation of the corporate collection. In 2016, the work by this important Indian painter was presented to a broad public in the West for the first time in a major retrospective shown at Tate Modern in London and the Deutsche Bank KunstHalle in Berlin.