Our cover this month, “Untitled (Gopi)” (21.1 in. by 16.1 in.) by Jamini Roy sold at Sotheby’s recent Modern & Contemporary South Asian Art Sale in New York on Sept. 10, 2012 for $12,500. The Bengalese Roy was born in the late 19th century and was trained in the academic tradition at the Government School of Art in Calcutta. He quickly found that using oil to depict Impressionist landscapes and classical nudes wasn’t fulfilling and looked to the indigenous artistic cultures of Bengal for inspiration.
He sought out the Patuas, a mixed-religion community in western Bengal, whose traditional occupation was that of scroll painting and storytelling. In their style, he found the means to reach his goals of capturing the lives of the common people, while making art more accessible and establishing an Indian identity in the art world. By looking backward, he found the road forward.
The estate-planning community may do well to heed his example. With the Bush tax cuts set to expire and exemption amounts set to return to their previous $1 million levels, as well as Congress’ statement that it won’t take action until after the upcoming election, we should all take a look back to see what the future holds.