At Prinseps, we are working to change the discourse to redefine the critical period for modernism in India as the first half of the 20th century. Though academia reiterates the same, the art trade seems to have strayed with a focus on the later part of the 20th century. The early 20th century witnessed the uprising of major art movements questioning the status quo.
Somnath Hore was not one to paint the blue of the skies, the glitter of the sands, or the green of the whispering trees, but the helplessness of the trembling hand attached to an emaciated body collapsed on the floor. In Somnath’s vision, it is the spectacle of man’s suffering that steals the show.
An observer and painter of life, a chartered accountant occasionally picked up his paintbrush to reflect the uncanny, the fantastical, the mixed droll, and dramatic impulses quintessential to everyday life. Bhupen Khakhar (b.1934) unabashedly revealed the melancholia, mundanities, and inner monologues of the marginal man. Khakhar was born in Bombay, but the quaint town of Baroda nurtured the artist in him. An office accountant in the city of dreams, money was not the only thing Bhupen wished to draw.
Stated below is the text of the second catalogue of the Bombay Progressive Artists' Group in collaboration with the Calcutta Group. Gobardhan Ash's works were exhibited in the joint show of the Calcutta Group and Progressive Artists’ Group alongside masters such as K.H. Ara, Francis Newton Souza, Maqbool Fida Husain, S.H. Raza, H.A. Gade, and S.K. Bakre at Calcutta in 1950. This document is indeed a historically prominent yet lesser-known artistic discovery in the world of modern Indian art.
A silent, dedicated artist content amidst the walls of paintings stacked in his Begampur mud house stirred a quiet revolution against the preconceived notions of artistic expression. No wonder Gobardhan Ash (b.1907) carved a niche for himself as an individualistic artist who fearlessly explored diverse artistic styles and techniques.
Born in 1915 in Bengal, Chittaprosad was a self taught artist and illustrator. He was educated in Chittagong, Bengal. He had no formal training as he refused to join the Government College of Art, Calcutta. He was also a member of the Communist party in India at the time and rejected the caste system.