Lot 6
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TEXT: S. A. Krishnan
EDITOR: Mulk Raj Anand
PUBLISHER: Sadanga Publications
PLACE: Bombay
BINDING: Softcover
Height: 10.5 in (26.6 cm)
Width: 8.5 in (21.5 cm)
Depth: 0.1 in (0.2 cm)

Hari Ambadas Gade is considered one of the first abstract expressionist painters of post-independence India. One of the founders of the progressive art movement in India, he believed in an unconventional and dynamic artistic style. Like all the painters of the Progressive Artists Group, Gade revolted against the traditions of academic art, which the British education system had clamped on Indian art education.

Born in Amravati on August 15, 1916, he graduated in science from the University of Nagpur, Maharashtra in 1938. He says, "When I was a child I was fond of drawing. But I also had a compelling interest in science and mathematics. I therefore went on to qualify for the master's degree in Sceince." Since he couldn't find a job, Gade joined a school as a teacher. It was in Jabalpur, where he went for his Bachelor of Education examinations, that the artist began painting landscapes.

He also read books like 'How To Paint Water Colors' and 'Vision Design' by Roger Fry. In 1946, Gade submitted two of his paintings at a national exhibition in Nagpur. One of them, an old man with a white flowing beard, won a prize, and the artist joined the Nagpur School of Art as a student and from where he took a Diploma in Art in 1949, and later, a Masters Degree (1950).

It was around this time that Gade came in touch with artist S.H. Raza, whose watercolors echoed the style of his mentor Walter Langhammer, then the art critic at 'The Times of India'. Raza gave him a lot of advice on painting landscapes. Gade began by painting watercolors, but he later switched to oils on canvas. He used both the palette knife and brush in his paintings. Art critic Prakash Bhise, in his essay on the Progressive Art Movement says of Gade, "His art stands on a firm intellectual platform. In his works, color is of importance, form is only incidental."

The artist, who began by painting beautiful landscapes, was strongly affected by the ugly slums that had sprung up across Mumbai in the 1950s. In his paintings, this abject poverty and dirty slums crop up once in a while. Yet, he did not abandon his first love, landscapes, and would travel every few months. From the lush greenery of Kerala, to the stark landscape of Udaipur to the dense forests, his landscapes are highly prized. In the recent past, he did a series on rains and monsoon greens.

Gade first exhibited in Mumbai in 1947, and then in 1948, at the annual exhibition of the Bombay Art Society. In 1949, he was invited to exhibit at the Salon-de-Mai in Paris, and in the same year, he also showed his works at Stanford University. In 1954, Gade's paintings were exhibited at the Venice Biennale.

H.A. Gade passed away in 2001.

  Lot 6 of 85  

8-9 AUGUST 2012


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