The contemporary art of the world has been in limelight always. The Modern Indian art movement in Indian painting took place similarly. It began in Calcutta. The movement took place in late nineteenth century. The old traditions of painting got lost with the time. It happened in Bengal and new schools of art. And this school was started by the British. This movement had the presence of many protagonists of Indian art. One name in this regard is of Raja Ravi Varma. This movement included all the Western traditions and techniques. In short, it had oil paint and easel painting. This movement took place due to too much Western influence.
When India was a new democratic country it was under-developed. The Indian National Congress was the mastermind behind it. It was the situation of the mid-twentieth century. It can be said that it was the first notable `movement’ of India. It simply led to igniting India ‘s art scene. The initiative was taken by` Bengal School ‘ of Abanindranath Tagore. Even the initiative was well known too.
The movement was a successful initiative being taken. It was because it had artists like Gaganendranath Tagore, Nandalal Bose, Benodebehari Mookherjee etc. The combine hard work and efforts by renowned artists made it a big hit. The body of work generated by them was bang on. Artists like Mukul Dey and Asit Haldar were the other followers. Together they had an enduring impact on the Indian art scene.
People wanted to maintain the rich cultural heritage of India and thus the movement was started. It was started by Bengal school of art and it was followed by Santiniketan. And in this way, many more schools joined the measure. People were so dedicated that they contributed in a large number.
The modern art movement of India had centers in Calcutta and Shantiniketan. But it had a huge influence on other art schools as well. It influenced art schools of sub-continent. The people were in the search for an Indian identity, and thus the idea came to their mind. Credits should be given to the Bengal School.
They tried to revive India’s traditional art. But this easy measure was a bit challenging task for them. It was because it needed to be done within a nationalistic format only. Everyone was triggered by nationalistic fervor. Being in a confined world, they grew. And that is why this movement succeeded. It even got worldwide recognition. Then the artistic creation ‘romantic naturalism’ was a sentimental piece of the movement. Amrita Sher Gil did major changes to it.
Art groups like the Bombay Progressives and even the Calcutta Group also contributed to it. Indian folks experienced the real contribution to `modernism’ in Indian art’. On being asked, Kajal Sengupta wrote, ‘Whatever may be the political sentiment growing around the movement, it was necessary at that juncture, to restore the artistic self-respect of a nation trodden down to servility’.
They stressed personal search and sensitivity only. It was because they were focusing on the living environment. Mysticism, mythology, the romantic past etc were some of the notions of the modern art movement.
Bombay Group had the most of the talented folks in India. Krishen Khanna and Gaitonde contributed a lot. They were known as the major contributors. But unfortunately, they didn’t last long. They produced original and sensitive works. It was appreciated and recognized by many also. But they shared no commitment to any social or artistic ideology. Though its individual artists did many things, many artworks could not be recognized by the world.
They were essentially toners. And so they failed to make their mark. No singular influence on the total art scene could be seen. All original artists lost their way. Their identities were necessarily fused with the culture. And the culture was the one they belonged.
It was very painful to note that they couldn’t sustain their ‘cultural neutrality’. Bombay is known as India’s cosmopolitan hub. It has gifted many artists to India. Atul Dodiya and Jaideep Mehrotra are the recent examples Even the renowned artists Akbar Padamsee, Sudhir Patwardhan, Jehangir Sabavaia belonged to Bombay. It has produced many eminent `originals’. But India was never confined to only Bombay.
Many contributors came from Bengal as well. Renowned Bengal sculptor Sankho Chowdhury was the first person. He was the first advisor. Even the Baroda School was the vibrant creative center. It organized many workshops for gifted artists from all over India. The respective persons were asked to visit and sketch scenes from daily life. They could take ideas from streets markets and railway stations.
When India gained independence in 1947, people were very happy. Several schools of art in India started teaching modern techniques and ideas. They provided access to students. Later the Progressive Artist’s Group was framed. It was founded by K. H. Ara, S. K. Baker, H. A. Gade, M. F. Husain, S. H. Raza, and F. N. Souza. All of them aimed at establishing new techniques into the art culture.
It was because they were in quest of new ways of expressing Indian art in the post-colonial era. The group led to the changed idiom of Indian art. But due to some reason, the group was dissolved in 1956. But it was not the great issue as they succeeded in achieving their goal. Modern Indian art typically shows the influence of Western styles. But experts say that it represents Indian themes and images very well.