EXHIBITION - V.S. Gaitonde : Works from Private Collections (Jan 21-Feb 04, 2011) :

“Painting is a struggle – you have to enquire, you have to have a thinking mind…A painting always exists within you, even before you actually start to paint. You just have to make yourself the perfect machine to express what is already there”

– V.S. Gaitonde

Even though his body of work is smaller than those of most other artists, each of Vasudeo Gaitonde’s drawings and paintings allows us to share in the pioneering creative process and unique artistic philosophy that his ‘thinking mind’ stimulated and sustained. From his earliest works, executed in a small-format because he had no room to paint, to the last few canvases he completed before his health began to deteriorate, Gaitonde’s oeuvre represents one artist’s enduring efforts to transcend conventionality and find sublimation through art.

We wanted to open the year and also our newest office and gallery space in the Capital with an exhibition of Gaitonde’s work for several reasons. Apart from drawing attention to the largely undocumented life and work of one of India’s most respected artists, this is also the first occasion in almost fifteen years that a collection of Gaitonde’s work has been shown in public. In always striving for perfection and not allowing any painting he considered flawed or incomplete to leave his studio, Gaitonde’s output remained minimal. Consequently, we are fortunate to have the opportunity to collate these exceptional works and display them together.

Drawn from various private collections across the country, the works in this exhibition reflect the development and perfection of Gaitonde’s unique artistic vocabulary, offering viewers a rare insight into the reclusive artist’s life and work. Tracing the trajectory of his career from his early stylistic experiments with line and texture in works like Portrait of Bhanu (1952) to his negotiations with colour, space and mood in his large Untitled works from the 1960s, 70s and 80s, we hope this exhibition will communicate Gaitonde’s strong spirit of enquiry and continuous engagement with the infinite.

This exhibition, of course, would not have been possible without the generosity and support of all the collectors of Gaitonde’s work who graciously agreed to lend us paintings and drawings from their collections. We would like to thank them for the privilege of spending some time with these quiet masterpieces, and invite all of you to do the same.


Meera Menezes, “The Meditative Brushstroke”, Art India, Volume 3, Issue 3, 1998, p. 69

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