L’Aiglon (original French title) Simultaneous color printing aquatint on Arches wove paper, n.d.Edition of 120.Signed and numbered in pencil.
Born in Mumbai (then still named Bombay) in 1921, Kaiko Moti (1921-1989), born Kaikobad Motiwalla ( sometimes also spelled Motivala) showed a precocious artistic talent, taking art classes already in his teens. Between 1939 and 1946 he studied art in a more formal way. There is come confusion as to what school he attended. Biographers have mentioned the Bombay School of Art, which never existed. It could however be a colloquial reference to the Sir Jamsetjee Jeejeebhoy School of Art (Sir J.J. School of Art), which existed then and still exists today.
Moti left India after completing his study in Mumbai, bound for London, where he seems to have spent three to four years, studying at the Slade School of Fine Art until approximately 1950. After obtaining his masters degree from The Slade, Moti moved again, to Paris, this time permanently.
In Paris connections quickly formed with other expat artists. Moti furthered his sculptural technique in Ossip Zadkine’s workshop, and joined the ranks of Atelier 17, William Stanley Hayter’s cooperative print shop. He remained committed to working at Atelier 17 for quite a while, probably encouraged by fellow Indian artist Krishna Reddy. It also seems both Moti and Reddy were instrumental in helping develop a slew of technical developments in intaglio techniques at the Atelier. Hayter was keen on constantly pushing for novel ideas in order to obtain new printmaking effects, including simultaneous color printing (a.k.a. color viscosity printmaking).
Some time in the 1950’s Moti moved to a studio of his own, in the famous Parisian artist studio colony named Cité Falguière. There he became a prolific and successful printmaker in his own right. His color aquatints, which mostly depict fauna and flora are distinguished by a softness of execution in which lines rarely dominate. A sfumato, not unlike one found in the works of Leonardo Da Vinci’s paintings or Camille Corot’s, lends many of his compositions an aged quality, as if the image belonged to a time long gone. Birds, cats, horses and luminous landscapes alternate in his output. And the colors, which Moti leaned to apply with great virtuosity to his copper plates, are often varied, sometimes even greatly within an edition. As such the same composition can give way to impressions that seem to be printed from different plates, while they are not. His prints therefore seem like paintings, rather than graphic works. Kaiko Moti died in Paris and is buried in the Montparnasse cemetery.