Progressive Artists Group


Bhulabhai Desai Memorial Institute

Bhulabhai Desai Memorial Institute (BDMI) was a center for innumerable artists of diverse fields and practices. An institute with the same structure and bohemian style has never been established again, giving rise to various experiments, collaborations, and discussions. The impact of the atmosphere created at the BDMI has touched the practice of artists visiting the space for various reasons.

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Bhulabhai Desai Memorial Institute

The Progressive Artists Group

Post-Independence India was a new revolution in India’s history. As the struggle for freedom was finally achieved, new mindsets were formed. The new free India respected and worshiped humanity at its best along with promoting freedom of expression. At this point, a group of supreme artists came together who shared a common art type: modern art for the new free India and called themselves the Bombay Progressives Art Group!

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The Progressive Artists Group

Vasudeo S. Gaitonde - A Tapestry

Gaitonde grew up in Nagpur, Maharashtra, and studied at the J. J. School of Art. In 1947, he was invited to join the Progressive Artists’ Group and went on to become one of its original members. He worked with various mediums and used a roller and palette knives to create his layered texture, which later became his signature style. 

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Vasudeo S. Gaitonde - A Tapestry

Flowers & Perspective - K H Ara

Born in 1914 K. H. Ara, a founder member of the Progressive Artists’ Group, evolved his trademark style, through nudes and still-life paintings. At first, he preferred to make still lifes for commission due to his financial status. He was a modernist for whom the form and language of art preceded all other social and political motivations. This evolved a certain eclecticism which led him in an exploration of his own style unlike other members of PAG.

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Flowers & Perspective - K H Ara

Francis Newton Souza's 1961 Pope

Francis Newton Souza was born in 1924 in Saligao, Goa. He was expelled for participating in the Quit India Movement while studying at the Sir J J School of Art in Mumbai. In 1947, he founded the Progressive Artists' Group along with S H Raza, M F Husain, and K H Ara, among others. Souza's style created thought-provoking and powerful images.

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Francis Newton Souza's 1961 Pope

Souza and Husain in the 1940s

Although the first exhibition of the Progressive Artists Group was held in 1949, the group formally came into existence on December 15, 1947.

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Souza and Husain in the 1940s

Maqbool Fida Husain Horses, Nude

Maqbool Fida Husain was born in 1913 in Pandharpur, Maharashtra. In 1948, he was invited by F N Souza to join the Progressive Artists' Group in Mumbai. When he took up painting as an art form, he blended folk, tribal, and mythological art to create vibrantly contemporary, living art forms.

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Maqbool Fida Husain Horses, Nude

Monochrome Ram Kumar Landscape

Ram Kumar was an essential part of the first generation of post-colonial Indian artists.  He was born in Shimla, Himachal Pradesh in 1924 and was a member of the Bombay Progressive Artists Group along with other popular artists like Husain, Raza, and Sadanand Bakre.

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Monochrome Ram Kumar Landscape

V. S. Gaitonde: Abstract Drawing

V.S. Gaitonde grew up in Nagpur, Maharashtra, and studied at the J. J. School of Art. In 1947, he was invited to join the Progressive Artists’ Group and went on to become one of its original members. He worked with various mediums and used a roller and palette knives to create his own layered texture that became his signature style.

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V. S. Gaitonde: Abstract Drawing

Maqbool Fida Husain - Taj Mahal

Maqbool Fida Husain was born in 1913 in Pandharpur, Maharashtra. In 1948, he was invited by F N Souza to join the Progressive Artists' Group in Mumbai. Husain began his career by painting billboards for feature films and making furniture designs and toys to earn a living.

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Maqbool Fida Husain - Taj Mahal

K.H. Ara: Still life with Flowers

Born in 1914, K. H. Ara, a founder member of the Progressive Artists’ Group, evolved his trademark style, through nudes and still-life paintings. He was a modernist for whom the form and language of art preceded all other social and political motivations. This evolved a certain eclecticism which led him in an exploration of his own style.

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K.H. Ara: Still life with Flowers

Francis N Souza Head- Ink on Paper

Francis Newton Souza was born in 1924 in Saligao, Goa. Souza was expelled for his behavior while studying at the Sir J J School of Art in Mumbai. In 1947, he founded the Progressive Artists' Group along with S H Raza, M F Husain, and K H Ara, among others. Souza's style created thought-provoking and powerful images.

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Francis N Souza Head- Ink on Paper

Francis N Souza's Noel Chemical

Francis Newton Souza was on modern India’s leaders of art and is known for his organic and complex growth in his works. In 1976, Souza migrated to New York and redefined his style of art.

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Francis N Souza's Noel Chemical

Francis Newton Souza's Goan Village

Born in 1924, Souza is best known for being one of the founding members of the Progressive Artists Group. Francis Newton Souza’s ‘Goan Village’  is an early masterpiece of the Goa born artist.

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Francis Newton Souza's Goan Village

Ram Kumar : Mazes of the Mind

Ram Kumar was an essential part of the first generation of postcolonial Indian artists.  He was born in Shimla, Himachal Pradesh in 1924 and was a member of the Bombay Progressive Artists Group along with other popular artists like Husain, Raza, and Sadanand Bakre.

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Ram Kumar : Mazes of the Mind

Valuing V S Gaitonde' Canvases

This an analysis of Vasudeo Gaitonde's auction realizations. Since about the time of the Guggenheim exhibition, his prices have seen exponential increases with comparisons being made to Mark Rothko.

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Valuing V S Gaitonde' Canvases

Good Works By F N Souza: A List

Here is a list of some of Francis Newton Souza's "good" works. This list is by no means definitive or exhaustive.

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Good Works By F N Souza: A List

Which Are M. F. Husain's Best Works?

As a collector, it would be a common thing to ask, which are the best works of India's esteemed artist, M. F. Husain.

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Which Are M. F. Husain's Best Works?

F N Souza: Classic Heads & Nudes

Francis Newton Souza's oeuvre was immense - however, the current fixation appears to be over his 1955 era heads (portraits) and his landscapes. Nudes which are an important part of his oeuvre are mostly undervalued and not given their due.

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F N Souza: Classic Heads & Nudes