Progressive Artists Group


Discovering layers, Bhanu Athaiya

"I wish my mother had seen all this because it was something that was just after her heart," said Radhika Gupta, the daughter of the Oscar-winning costume designer and artist Bhanu Athaiya. Talking about the documentation of her mother's antique textile collection recently consigned to Prinseps, Radhika Gupta dotes over her mother's inherited legacy.  

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Discovering layers, Bhanu Athaiya

Documentation of Bhanu Athaiya's Heirloom Textile Collection

An intensive documentation and study of the personal textile collection of Bollywood's most iconic costume designer, Bhanu Rajopadhye Athaiya. 

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Documentation of Bhanu Athaiya's Heirloom Textile Collection

Exploring Bhanu Athaiya's Personal Textile Collection

Like a brocade bridge that takes you back in time, the personal textile collection of India’s most renowned costume designer Bhanu Rajopadhye Athaiya leads you deeper into both her inherited legacy and the one she herself created.

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Exploring Bhanu Athaiya's Personal Textile Collection

Gobardhan Ash’s Avatars - Physical & NFT Auction

Background Avatar, also known as a profile picture or user picture in the computing world, refers to a graphical representation of a user or the user's character or persona or possibly physical traits. It may take either a two-dimensional form as an icon in Internet forums and other online communities or a three-dimensional form, as in games or virtual worlds. (Wikipedia)

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Gobardhan Ash’s Avatars - Physical & NFT Auction

Bhanu Athaiya Saree & NFT Sale: The Antique & The Contemporary

Bhanu Athaiya was India’s first Oscar winner with a career as a costume designer spanning six decades.

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Bhanu Athaiya Saree & NFT Sale: The Antique & The Contemporary

M.F. Husain: The King of Hearts by Ashvin E. Rajagopalan

The only time I have seen M. F. Husain in person was at his exhibition in honour of singer M. S. Subbulakshmi at a gallery in Chennai (Madras) in 2004. Wearing no footwear, except for thick black socks, and wielding a massive paintbrush in one hand, Husain was surrounded by a group of Chennai’s socialites. I was patiently waiting behind them to meet Husain when he suddenly popped out and said, “Hello”. I was giddy with excitement and asked him to autograph the invitation card I had in my hand. He did so and quickly moved on to greet the next visitor. Husain was as excited to meet unknown gallery visitors as they were to meet him—the energy was amazing for a man who, at that time, was 91 years old. A year or so later, Husain left India, never to return. 

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M.F. Husain: The King of Hearts by Ashvin E. Rajagopalan

Ganesh Pyne: The Mystical Artist

An intensely private artist whose artistic imagination was fuelled by the strange, dark fantasy of his grandmother’s stories and charred by the horrors of his reality, Ganesh Pyne's paintings are quiet revelations of his personality. Pyne's intricate ink works, haunting temperas, and jottings are rich in imagery and symbolism, bordering along the uncanny and drawing our attention to a world beyond the familiar. His art deeply rooted in dark, unsettling images, derived from mythology and dreams. 

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Ganesh Pyne: The Mystical Artist

Uncle Husain by Anjum Siddiqui

I had the good fortune of spending a larger part of my life in close association with M. F. Husain. Or Uncle H, as I called him. He was more than just a friend of the family. He was part of the family. We all lived, painted, and went on vacations together. There were always the choicest of paints and canvases in the house while growing up, for which I am always thankful to him. I got to paint alongside him right from when I was 6 years old. As a child, he must have seen a unique creative spark in me. Or so he said to me in a note, written inside a book he sent me just a month before he passed away. 

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Uncle Husain by Anjum Siddiqui

Bhupen Khakhar: the gentle radical painter

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.

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Bhupen Khakhar: the gentle radical painter

From the archives: F.N. Souza on Modern Art

A letter written by Francis Newton Souza expressing his views on Modern Art in the summer of '88. This is one of Souza's three letters to be featured in the Modern Indian Art auction this May,

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From the archives: F.N. Souza on Modern Art

A historical rediscovery: the second PAG Catalogue, 1950

Stated below is the text of the second catalog 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. 

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A historical rediscovery: the second PAG Catalogue, 1950

Gobardhan Ash: the quiet master artist

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.

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Gobardhan Ash: the quiet master artist

An introduction to the Weavers' Service Centre

Years ago, artists from various walks of life gravitated towards a creative anomaly near Mumbai's Opera House. The Weavers' Service Centre was established in the 1950s by Pupul Jayakar. Masters such as Prabhakar Barwe, Anand Mohan Naik, Gautam Waghela, Ramesh Vaghela, and Gopal Adivrekar designed textiles at the center for years to support themselves while exploring their identities as artists. 

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An introduction to the Weavers' Service Centre

Bhanu Athaiya by Ranjit Hoskote

Bhanu Athaiya: The legacy of a long-hidden sun  I. It was D.G. Nadkarni, elder statesman among Bombay’s art critics, who first told me that Bhanu Athaiya had trained as a painter and had once shown alongside the members of the Progressive Artists' Group (PAG).

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Bhanu Athaiya by Ranjit Hoskote

Pages from Bhanu's handwritten notes

"My father, a multifaceted man, was far ahead of the times. His thirst for knowledge led him to explore avenues of learning beyond scholastic and academic boundaries. He would travel to Mumbai frequently to collect books on various subjects ranging from painting to photography and embroidery to film making. These books were imported from Britain by Englishmen who had big stores in Mumbai.

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Pages from Bhanu's handwritten notes

Bhanu's ode to the Progressive Artists' Group

Bombay, May 2010 - "I was exposed to paintings from a very young age. My father was a self-taught artist who sometimes painted in oils by studying the old European masters and sometimes following his own inspiration. In his studio, he had many books on paintings of European masters like Leonardo Da Vinci, Rembrandt, Turner, Gainsboro, Constable, and others. I enjoyed looking at these books just as I enjoyed washing my father's brushes and pallet.

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Bhanu's ode to the Progressive Artists' Group

The legacy of Annasaheb Rajopadhye

The city of Kolhapur in southern Maharashtra is often called Kalapur, a city of the arts: a tag that originated in the early twentieth century. This was a result of a social and cultural transformation initiated by Chhatrapati Shahu Maharaj (1874-1922).

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The legacy of Annasaheb Rajopadhye

Art of Atul Bose - by Partha Mitter

Atul Bose (1898-1977) was virtually forgotten in the decades following independence when the Progressive Artists of Bombay dominated in the era of Nehruvian modernism. Recently, many of these earlier artists are undergoing significant reassessment.

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Art of Atul Bose - by Partha Mitter

Bhanu Athaiya: The Oscar Winning Designer

Bhanu Athaiya achieved a lot over a period of six decades - the only woman member of the Progressive Artists Group and the first Indian to win an Oscar.

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Bhanu Athaiya: The Oscar Winning Designer

Capturing the Zeitgeist : Progressive Artists’ Group

Traversing the world of art can be a game of clue hunt. Sometimes, even if there is a lot documented about a group of artists and their works, one tends to find a thread that can become an enticing exploration in itself. A lot has been written about the Progressive Artists' Group, which was formed in India in the year 1947.

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Capturing the Zeitgeist : Progressive Artists’ Group