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DAG’s New Exhibition Of Indian Artists Inspired By Paris

Amrita Sher-Gil, Ram Kumar and Sakti Burman among 25 artists showcased at Delhi’s Visual Arts Gallery

Over the years, DAG has earned a reputation for putting up well-mounted and curated exhibitions of Indian modern artists. The latest in this is the gallery’s India’s French Connection: Indian Artists in France at the Visual Arts Gallery in the India Habitat Centre in New Delhi. Running from 1-11 February, this compact and visually stunning exhibition of 25 Indian artists features a selection of modern masters like Amrita Sher-Gil, Jogen Chowdhury, SH Raza, Sakti Burman and Ram Kumar, among others. The artists’ engagements with Paris was varied, from long sojourns to brief dalliances. However, the artworks presented here distil those engagements into highly individual statements.

A very interesting facet of the selections is the way they capture unique moments in the careers of the artists. For instance, Ram Kumar’s 1963 oil on canvas work of a city waterfront called Untitled, is a snapshot of a moment of transition for the Bombay Progressive Artists’ Group luminary. His stylistic progression from figuration to abstraction is well known, and this painting captures the artist in the middle of making that move. This is juxtaposed brilliantly with another untitled work from 1961, which is a pure meditation on colour.

Others, like two of Sakti Burman’s paintings from the early 70’s, capture a moment when the artist’s style was still evolving. His 1975 oil on canvas, The Wait, is a large, marvellous work that exudes a surreal, fey quality, with its depicted human and animal figures existing in some wonderland of the mind. The marbling effect that he’s known for is in evidence in the fresco-like treatment of his works here. Jehangir Sabavala’s 1950 oil on canvas painting, Still-Life with Apples, is a lyrical impressionistic piece from an artist known more for his cubist works.

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