Abstract Expressionism

Stunning Abstracts by Seven Indian Modern Painters

Urvi Chheda 30 April 2021 min Read

It was the early 20th century when Modernism spread its wings in India. This happened as a result of an exposure to various European artists. The exchange of ideas inspired Indian modern painters to experiment and delve deeper into their consciences in order to express themselves in far more realistic ways.

Abstraction ruled the minds not as an ideology or a principle but as an intention to know the unknown truth. It was a wish to experience the unmanifested. Several painters made unassuming leaps from their influences to their very own methods of expression. As a result, many modernist painters created some of the most stunning abstracts.

Ambadas Khobragade

“Art to me is a happening and performance, an instant plunging, flirting and merging, with life, with its being and becoming it. All that is there on the canvas is but a charge in celebration.”

Khobragade’s profile on Saffron Art.

Indian Modern Painters: Ambadas Khobragade, Untitled, 1976.
Indian modern painters: Ambadas Khobragade, Untitled, 1976. Art Basel.

An unconventional set of imageries oozed from the brush of the artist-activist, Ambadas Khobragade. His brushstrokes appear like wavelets of his sensations. They are spontaneous and ephemeral. During his childhood, he had been enriched with Gandhian values. However, later he had to face the political realities of life in India. As a result he became part of the revolutionary and essential group called Group 1890.

Mohan Samant

Indian Modern Painters: Mohan Samant, The Temple, 1975–80, cut and folded papers, marker, paint, and sand on canvas, Metropolitan Museum, New York, NY, USA.
Indian modern painters: Mohan Samant, The Temple, 1975–80, cut and folded papers, marker, paint, and sand on canvas, Metropolitan Museum, New York, NY, USA.

Samant expressed himself in a very peculiar as well as an individual style. His is a perfect blend of figurines and abstraction. He used a wide range of materials, including high impasto, which gave a low relief to the base and a set of mundane visuals. Rendered on the canvas, his mundane figures were consciously let free to choose their own path of lines and shades. This resulted in an enigmatic outcome.

Tyeb Mehta

Indian Modern Painters: Tyeb Mehta, Diagonal, 1975, private collection.
Indian modern painters: Tyeb Mehta, Diagonal, 1975, private collection. Christie’s.

These paintings stand out from the rest. Mehta was a simple personality. He offers us a repertoire of stylized figurines which he portrays repetitively. In each painting, it is the slight distortion that keeps the meaningful form in the place.

Vasudeo Gaitonde

Indian Modern Painters: Vasudeo Gaitonde, Untitled, ca.1960s, private collection.
Indian modern painters: Vasudeo Gaitonde, Untitled, ca.1960s, private collection. Christie’s.

Vasudeo Gaitonde termed himself as a “non-objective” painter. He stated the fact that his paintings did not bear any particular pre-thought out context. As well as using abstract forms, he also created paintings that showcased calligraphic fonts which resembled the hieroglyphics symbols of the Harappa civilisation.

Jeram Patel

Indian Modern Painters: Jeram Patel, Untitled, blow torch on wood and stainless steel, 2008
Indian modern painters: Jeram Patel, Untitled, blow torch on wood and stainless steel, 2008. Art Base.

The distinguished works of Jeram Patel are the epitome of his quirky style. At the same time, they are vehement signatures of a spontaneous temperament. The artworks are revolutionizing features in the modern Indian Art timeline of Abstraction.

SH Raza

SH Raza had a very bright lifespan. He came out of his shell to pursue his career in Paris at a very young age. His initial, conventional abstracts paved the way to a personal and minimalistic rendering of geometric forms. Bindu, a circular form, staged a prominent appearance in his later, advanced and stunning abstracts.

Indian Modern Painters: SH Raza, Saison, 1966, private collection
Indian modern painters: SH Raza, Saison, 1966, private collection. WikiArt.

Ram Kumar

Indian Modern Painters: Ram Kumar, Untitled, 2010.
Indian modern painters: Ram Kumar, Untitled, 2010. Saffron Art.

Ram Kumar was a simple-minded man with a noble soul. He expressed his inherent ferocity through beguiling abstractions. As a result, his work appealed to multitudes. His palette did not lack tonalities; instead they brightened with time and deepened with age. The colored stretches float to take a rugged road of yet another shade.


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