16 May, 2021

Beholder’s India

A gallery of Indian landscapes—from the orderliness of the Company School to modernists’ abstractions in impasto

Beholder’s India

Few would know that the landscape genre in India came into its own only by the end of the nineteenth century, when artists trained at art schools and equipped with portable art material began to step out of their studios to paint from life. There was an outpouring of landscapes not just from the metropolitan centres but also from smaller towns like Kolhapur. In industrially developed art material like Winsor and Newton pigments and Whatman paper, which could take many colour washes without disintegrating, artists found a new method of experimentation which would allow them to make an effusion of forms, splitting colour beyond the drawn image and an erasure of compositional clarity. Not only did this set about a new adventure in landscapes, but allowed for a reclamation of memory and lost territory.

In the book published by the Delhi Art Gallery, a comprehensive overview is obtained of the genre as it transmutes into modernist abstractions and to the later experimental works in new media. The art scholar Shukla Sawant points out in an essay that the picturesque views of...

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