Friday, August 22, 2008

Art: Nandalal Bose and the West's Monopoly on Modernism.

The Times published this piece on Nandalal Bose's work. "Word is that contemporary Indian art is the next sensation on the international market. So now's the time to learn something about where it came from..." UGH. Fun's over kids. "what is still probably news to many people: that modernism wasn’t a purely Western product sent out like so many CARE packages to a hungry and waiting world." True, True.

Nandalal Bose's work is being shown at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. The exhibit is entitled "Rhythms of India: The Art of Nandalal Bose (1882-1966). Bose was a student under Abanindranath Tagore, and eventually taught at Rabindranath Tagore's school in Santiniketan. It was this group of people who developed a modern Indian art accessible to the West but deeply rooted in the history of India.

"Evening", 1941

"Sati", 1943.
"From the official British perspective, India had no living art."
"New Clouds", 1937
"Gandhi March (Bapuji)", 1930. Linocut on paper.

"In 1930, he produced a print in response to Mohandas K. Gandhi’s march to the sea that year protesting the British taxation on salt. The print, a portrait of Gandhi, was an instant hit. Cheap to reproduce, it became the most widely circulated image of the leader of the Indian freedom movement. The two men became friends, political collaborators and spiritual allies. "
"Radha's Longing (Radha's Viraha)", 1936. Tempera on silk.
- This piece is very reminiscent of Mughal miniatures and the earlier Rajput style it incorporated along with the Safavid style. The similarities exist in it's composition, colors, use of trees akin to the Chaurapanchasika style of the Rajput empire, and topic matter of Radha and Krishna. Though, while the colors are similar they're certainly more vibrant. This is also the case for "New Clouds" below.

"Saraswati", 1941.

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