From MF Husain to KCS Paniker: Uncommon works by India’s biggest artists on show in Chennai

Discover an intriguing assortment of Indian modern artwork, together with uncommon early works by luminaries of the Madras Artwork Motion and the Bengal College, from the private assortment of the late entrepreneur Pradipto Mohapatra

Discover an intriguing assortment of Indian modern artwork, together with uncommon early works by luminaries of the Madras Artwork Motion and the Bengal College, from the private assortment of the late entrepreneur Pradipto Mohapatra

Sanghamitra Mohapatra’s earliest reminiscences with artwork are positioned within the sprawling Cholamandal Artist’s Village: each Sunday, as a bit woman, she could be left to play with different kids as her father, entrepreneur Pradipto Mohapatra, caught up along with his artist mates and maybe even picked up a canvas or two on the way in which out. Most of those artists went on to develop into the greats of the Madras Artwork Motion.

She admits to having no clue of who they had been or what they did till a lot after. Immediately, she wraps up a really difficult five-year undertaking: painstakingly cataloguing her late father’s huge assortment of artworks, with a sensitively curated present at Focus Artwork Gallery to honour his ardour for artwork.

This assortment, constructed lovingly over many years, holds many exceptional items: KCS Paniker’s uncommon paper sketches, RB Bhaskaran’s cats, KH Ara’s breathtaking large-format work  ‘Nude’ and Laxma Goud’s etchings on steel plates: the crème de la crème of Indian modern artwork.

Ajay De’s charcoal on paper work

Ajay De’s charcoal on paper work
| Picture Credit score: Particular Association

An MF Husain stands virtually hidden on one of many crowded partitions of Focus Artwork Gallery. But, it’s unmissable. A easy watercolour on paper, characterised by the artist’s early brushstrokes, the work exhibits two ladies, maybe dancers, accompanied by a meditating saint in whites. Inside, a whole wall options the Bengal College as Ajay De’s birds are captured in arresting shadows, and Suhas Roy’s stunning pastel works of the feminine type sit beside types of Christ, personalised by totally different cultures and artists in their very own regard. Just a few sculptures, principally in stone and steel, additionally make an look.

Collectively, they type round 275 works that span veteran artists, various faculties of thought, and altering kinds that Pradipto Mohapatra, the person behind retail chains like FoodWorld, MusicWorld, Well being & Glow and HMV India, collected over 40-odd years.

An artwork by AV Ilango

An art work by AV Ilango
| Picture Credit score: Particular Association

Sanghamitra remembers him as “the image of well being”, affable with a eager curiosity in horology and historic artifacts. Mohapatra cherished his artwork and watches. “As for artwork, He was an enormous fan of the Bengal College of Artwork, and the Madras Artwork Motion. He had a deep understanding of the Bengal College and the historical past of it,” says Sanghamitra. His father-in-law was an avid collector too. “Between father-in-law and son-in-law, a variety of notes had been exchanged,” she remembers. That is additionally how a variety of works that characterise the Bombay College, like KH Ara, made it into the gathering. The show is an enchanting stroll by means of evolving ideas, concepts and sensibilities. 

In a group as huge as this, relationship and analysis pose unavoidable challenges. To make sense of the gathering and devise a unfastened narrative, Sanghamitra did her personal analysis into every of those artists’ lives. “Then there are provenances for every art work: authenticity papers and invoices which give us an thought in regards to the mediums and the costs. A few of them had been purchased pre-Nineteen Nineties, and don’t have the authenticity papers. For these, I needed to dive into each bit, attain out to the household or an professional within the subject to place the certification collectively,” she says.  

A whole lot of the items from the Madras Artwork Motion are early works of the artists, procured across the Nineteen Eighties, earlier than they even shot to fame. Pointing to RB Bhaskaran’s oils and acrylics on canvas that includes his widespread cats, Sanghamitra remembers, “He had no love for cats. However he purchased a variety of work with cats for us. My mom’s aspect of the household was avid cat-lovers.”

S Nandagopal’s work

S Nandagopal’s work
| Picture Credit score: Particular Association

Whereas there isn’t any set narrative to the show, the viewers are welcomed by the Madras Artwork Motion, and portraits who’re then inspired to journey to the Bombay and Bengal Faculties, whereas passing by some summary works on the way in which. Did Mohapatra have a favourite artist? “He cherished [C] Douglas. Within the Bengal College, he had a particular love for the Tagores: ofcourse, we do have just a few scribblings of Rabindranath Tagore.” Nonetheless, they aren’t a part of the show. 

Why does she wish to half with such an exhaustive assortment? A whole lot of it boils right down to the perils of preservation. Mohapatra had an affinity in the direction of paper-formats: ink on paper and watercolours. “However they have to be on a wall, and aired,” says Sanghamitra, including, “Extra so, they have to be appreciated and seen. There isn’t a level in them being in our storage.”

The gathering is on show at Focus Artwork Gallery, Alwarpet, from July 22 to 24. It’s open to all.

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