Art

Landscapes of India

William Hodges landscape of the banks of the Yamuna in the 18th century. Photo: Special Arrangement   | Photo Credit: mail picture

The first ever comprehensive overview of landscape art in India, this exhibition documents how this genre evolved over three centuries — from the late 18th century to the recent past — representing artists from major art centres in the country. While a veritable goldmine for critics and scholars, it is an exciting one for the collector too since all the paintings are for sale. Ashish Anand, Director of Delhi Art Gallery, says, “It’s something no one has attempted before.” The exhibition brings together the works of the earliest European artist travellers to India such as Thomas Daniell, William Hodges and Edward Cheney; academic realist oil landscapes by acknowledged masters J.P. Gangooly and Ravi Varma. The Indian Art School- trained artists from the 1920s-1960s like S.L. Haldankar and L.N. Taskar have a strong presence. Master printmaker Haren Das, known for his serene landscapes of rural Bengal, finds substantial representation. A highlight is two scrolls over eight feet long; by Kripal Singh Shekhawat and Bishnupada Roychoudhary depicting long narratives painted painstakingly over paper reflecting a strong Japanese influence. Post-Independence Indian art is represented by Gopal Ghose, experiments in abstractions by F.N. Souza, K.S. Kulkarni, S.H Raza and others. There are also two paintings by M.F. Husain, not known to have painted many landscapes. The exhibition is a journey through time portraying not only the changes in art over three centuries, but reflecting the fast-shifting rural and urban landscape of India. The exhibition both examines the past and contextualises the present. In William Hodges’ almost photographic representations, one can see India as it used to be; while F.N. Souza’s abstract works open an entirely different window. Both an exhibition and a quick tour of the country, this is a must-see for art lovers.

Bottomline: A formidable project, both in scale and execution.

Indian Landscapes: The Changing Horizon

Where: Delhi Art Gallery, Hauz Khas Village, New Delhi

When: Until September 29.

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Printable version | Apr 21, 2021 1:28:48 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/friday-review/art/landscapes-of-india/article3839625.ece

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