A short discussion on Indian Art (both Modern & Contemporary) – of course as always these are my opinions and art is a very subjective matter – while I may state a few thumb rules / views – those are mine. You should form your own. What is modern art – the definition is a bit hazy, but a simple way of describing it would be something that appears different from what you would see in a photograph of the image. Let us track history a bit – The first of the modern artists (I hate this particular word ‘first’ as it is so definitive in this context) were people like Cezanne and Matisse.
As you can see from the Matisse , there is something different – use of green , the features, the background, etc. It is an artists view on the person – his style , his oeuvre, his thinking, etc. They are called Modern artists as they created something different – hard to exactly define the difference but quite clear visually. It has been said that Modern Art is something that “either shocks of Surprises”.
Speaking of shocks of surprises, the artists that have been most successful in the commercial sense, fall into this paradigm. Take Pablo Picasso and Francis Bacon – there works have sold for $100+ million dollars and have ended up being extremely smart investments for their buyers.
Pretty Pictures And Francis Bacon
Not a pretty picture as you can make out – but then pretty real life pictures, etc fall in the category of decorative arts – which have little commercial / investment value (these are all my opinions of course).
In India, I do believe the Modern Art movement was spearheaded by artists like Jamini Roy and Francis Newton Souza who was also the founder of the Progressive Art Movement (with other noted artists like M.F. Husain, Tyeb Mehta, Akbar Padamsee, Vasudeo Gaitonde, etc). It is works from this particular Indian Art group that get frequently get sold in auction and are considered to be very collectible and investment worthy.
Shock Or Surprise – Akbar Padamsee, Francis Souza
As can be seen from this work – “it is different – somewhere between a shock and a surprise”. There is complexity here – it is not a simple portrait. Broadly speaking types of images can be categorized into Portraits, Nudes, and Landscapes (again I hate this categorization as modern art is about an escape from a defined order and therefore should not be categorized). Indian Artists like Souza, Padamsee, etc have given their own language, their own unique style or persona to the rendition of these themes.
To be continued with a further discussion on an important part of buying art – something that is called ‘provenance’.
Image Source: Non Copyrighted Images Of Artworks (as per US Copyright Law)