Modern Art

Where do we go from here?

Faced with the ravages of the global pandemic, we’re all seeking comfort, beauty and a way to strengthen that inner light no storm can disturb. ‘Shifting Selves’ offers the balm of art and history as it documents this journey inward

Crucifixion

This drawing delineates the Biblical tragedy of the crucifixion of Christ. This is one of many compositions of the crucifixion done by the modern artist Francis Newton Souza. FN Souza, a founding member of the Progressive Artists Group (PAG Mumbai, 1947), in many ways shaped the Modern Art movement in India. He explored subjects like… Read more »

Untitled

The subject of this painting is the bust of a young man. The work is expressionist and connects with the viewer directly. The connection is achieved particularly through the soft but direct gaze of the subject. Artist Jogen Chowdhury has achieved mastery in creating figures using only black lines. These lines are almost always distorted… Read more »

Man Kneeling I

The subject of this minimalist painting is a prostrated man. Artist Jogen Chowdhury’s signature style is in use here – fine, seemingly unbroken lines which create figures infused with feelings of social distress. This painting titled ‘man kneeling’ is a famous composition by Chowdhury first made in 2007. He recreates this image several times thereafter.… Read more »

Untitled (A Flower pot)

This painting is among the early works of Jamini Roy. Trained in European painting styles in the Government School of Bengal, Roy began his career with realistic oil portraits and post-impressionist landscapes. He produced several paintings in this style from 1905 to 1930s, but his later indigenous bent oeuvre overshadows them. One such painting in… Read more »

Crucified Jesus

Jamini Roy was probably the first artist to depict Christ in an Indian vocabulary. He was looking to test the effectiveness of his bold line and flat colour technique on a subject which was remote from his personal life. Being an orthodox Hindu who had never read the old or new testaments, Roy saw the… Read more »

A Mother’s Day Art Roundup

The bond between mother and child has been a uniquely potent theme for art around the world and across the ages. From  Kitagawa Utamaro’s ‘Midnight: Mother and Sleepy Child’ (1790) to Gustav Klimt’s ‘Hope II’ (1907-08), here are eight pieces to revisit in time for Mother’s Day.

Gallery for Gerbils

Worldwide lockdowns may have left most of the world’s population without options to physically visit museums or galleries for the foreseeable immediate future. The exception? Gerbills Pandoro and Tiramisu, whose bored and quarantined owners toiled hours to build a rodent-sized gallery stocked with rodent-versions of famous artworks. From The Scream to the Mona Lisa, the… Read more »

Untitled

As one of the founders of the Progressive Artists’ Group and an idealist who was once imprisoned for participating in MK Gandhi’s salt satyagraha, KH Ara seemed to have acquired a somewhat avuncular air in the art scene of ’40s and’50s Bombay. That was rudely challenged when he got into nudes. And he got into… Read more »

Art of Pandemics Past

From Edvard Munch’s haunting self-portrait made after he survived the deadly Spanish Flu (unlike many of his contemporaries) to a Benetton ad that brought AIDS imagery to the mainstream, art that has emerged from epidemics in the past are all around us. Read what they tell us about what it is to be human.

End of an Era

Legendary artist, sculptor and architect Satish Gujral passed away on 26 March 2020, at the age of 94. His most celebrated works of art include “Days of Glory” and “Mourning en masse,” which capture the anguish and suffering that he felt in the decades post partition.  He had also designed prominent buildings as an architect,… Read more »

Art and Social Distancing

As a large portion of the world’s population takes up social distancing and self imposed quarantines to slow the spread of covid-19, here are fifteen artworks that may prove particularly relatable. From Dante Gabriel Rossetti’s ‘Veronica Veronese’ (1872) to A$AP Rocky’s ‘Lab Rat ‘(2018), they explore themes of social isolation and loneliness, and capture the bleakness… Read more »

This Just In

Before you try to find it, let us clarify right away that there isn’t a common thread connecting the five artists in our Spotlight this month. The art of Bhupen Khakhar, Shakuntala Kulkarni, Manisha Gera Baswani, Dibin Thilakan and Gopa Trivedi are covered by the umbrella term ‘modern and contemporary art’ but this slightly worn… Read more »

Big Deals

Among the very high-profile artworks going under the hammer for Sotheby’s auction of 20th-century Indian art from the Guy and Helen Barbier collection is this work by Bhupen Khakhar. ‘Two Men in Benares’ caused a sensation in 1982 for its bold homo-erotic theme and today it’s valued at between Rs 3.9 and 5 crore . Visit… Read more »

Untitled

The work deals with the theme of crucifixion. There is a central figure on a cross and other figures are gathered around, perhaps representing the mourners. Rudimentary architectural elements can be seen in the background. KG Subramanyan was actively involved in the freedom struggle and was known for his Gandhian ideology. His visit to Santiniketan… Read more »

Untitled

A sketch depicting a man in a cloak with an outstretched right arm. Another figure kneels before the standing figure, perhaps as a gesture of reverence. This work is very likely Biblical in its theme. Krishen Khanna was born in pre-partition Punjab and moved to Bombay to work as a banker. Art had been a… Read more »

Body Beautiful

From Ara to Souza and from infatuation to disillusionment, we examine the nudes in our collection of modern Indian art