Do you know any of the famous abstract artists of our country?
The contributions some of these artists made to the Indian art scales beyond any measure and this is one reason for calling them ‘the greats’.
If you are an art enthusiast, it will only help to know some of these great names in the art world. Here, we give you five of the most popular names in Indian abstract art. So let us learn more about them.
S. H. Raza
If there is one name that rules the price charts of Indian art paintings, it is S. H. Raza. He was born in 1922 in Madhya Pradesh. In 1950, he moved to France and from then on, he has been living and working from there.
Most of his art works are based on Indian astrology and science. He uses bright and vivid colors for his paintings and this has remained a trademark of Raza’s paintings. Recently, he became the most expensive artist of our country by selling one of his works, ‘Saurashtra’, for 16.42crore.
The government and different organizations in India has felicitated this artist with numerous awards and recognitions. He won Padma Shri and Fellowship of the Lalit Kala Akademi back in 1981. In 2007, he was given Padma Bhushan and recently in 2013, the country honored him with Padma Vibhushan.
Ram Kumar is another important name in the modern Indian abstract art. Born in 1924, he spent most of his childhood in Shimla, Himachal Pradesh. He completed his education in art from India and France. At that time, he also made a good friend with Raza. He worked along with the greats like M.F. Husain and Tyeb Mehta in the Progressive Artists Group, which proved vital for modern Indian art.
Although there are a number of popular paintings to his name, the most popular one is ‘The Vagabond’. At an auction held at Christie’s, this painting was sold for more than a million dollars! Figurativism was his style of art in the starting years. But he gave up this style later and adopted abstract art.
When it comes to civilian honors, Ram Kumar received Padma Shri in 1972 and Padma Bhushan in 2010. He also won the Fellowship of the Lalit Kala Akademi in 2011.
At a time when abstract art was becoming popular in our country, a few artists dared to break free from the traditional Bengal school and join the new art movement. Tyeb Mehta was one among the few.
Born in 1925 in Mumbai, he completed his education from J. J. School of Arts. Once, he held the record for being the most expensive artist of India. One of his paintings, ‘Celebration’, was sold for 15million. However, this is not the only painting that makes Tyeb Mehta a proud member of the $1 million artist club. Some of his paintings like ‘Kali’ fetched 10 million and some others were sold for more than $1 million. ‘Gesture’ is another painting by this artist, which got him an astounding $31 million.
Indian government honored this artist in 2007 by giving him Padma Bhushan. He died in 2009, at the age of 83, leaving many of his paintings half-complete.
Born in 1915, MF Husain was an artist who was destined to change the course of Indian abstract art. This Maharashtrian artist is perhaps the most popular artist India has ever seen.
His paintings were diverse in subjects as well as emotions. Husain, along with artists like Souza, formed the Progressive Artist’s Group. Husain completed his training from J.J. School of Arts. By 1940, he was a popular figure in Indian abstract art. By the early 1950s’, his works became popular in the western world and this made Husain a celebrity figure in our country. Paintings like ‘Battle of Ganga and Jamuna’, ‘Sprinkling Horses’ etc earned him a place in the million dollar artist club.
In 1955, he received Padma Shri, in 1973 Padma Bhushan and in 1991, the Padma Vibhushan. He died in the year 2011 at the age of 95. During his last few years, he had to live in exile due to all the controversies he created through his paintings.
Prabhakar Kolte is an important person in Indian abstract art. Born in 1946, this Maharashtrian artist also completed his training at J. J. School of Arts. In fact, he even worked as an instructor at this school of arts for almost two decades. During his starting years, Kotle took inspiration from the works of Paul Klee, a Swiss artist, and this was evident on the canvas. His bold use of strong and bright colors created a unique signature for his paintings. Today, after retiring from J. J. School of Arts as the arts instructor, his life is entirely dedicated to abstract art.
The contribution of each and every one of the artists in this list to Indian abstract art is beyond any measure. Names like MF Husain and SH Raza are the pillars of modern Indian abstract art. So many artists like Ajay Rajpal, Anu Kulkarni, Gouri Shani et al are seen in the limelight in recent years. Before we conclude this article, a question for you: Who is your favorite Indian abstract artist?