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Jonathan M. Bloom

Reviser Sheila S. Blair

(b Kishorganj, East Pakistan [now Bangladesh], Nov 18, 1914; d Dhaka, May 28, 1976).

Bangladeshi painter and printmaker. He studied painting at the Government School of Art in Calcutta from 1933 to 1938, and then taught there until 1947. His work first attracted public attention in 1943 when he produced a powerful series of drawings of the Bengal famine. After the partition of India and Pakistan in 1947 he worked as chief designer in the Pakistan government’s Information and Publications Division, and also became principal of the Institute of Fine Arts in Dhaka (later known as the Bangladesh College of Arts and Crafts), which he helped to found in 1948 and where he remained until 1967. From 1951 to 1952 he visited Europe and, in addition to exhibiting his work at several locations, worked at the Slade School of Art in London, and represented Pakistan at the UNESCO art conference in Venice in 1952. An exhibition of his work in Lahore in 1953 became the starting-point for a series of ...

Article

Marcella Nesom-Sirhandi

(b Faisalabad, 1922).

Pakistani painter. She introduced non-traditional pictorial imagery in Pakistan and initiated a new era in painting. She completed a degree in political science at Kinnaird College, Lahore. Her introverted disposition and concentrated study of philosophy formed the background against which her abstract ‘idea’ paintings emerged. At the Lahore School of Fine Art (1945), Agha began a study of Western art. In addition to copying Old Masters, she came into contact with contemporary Indian painting and folk art.

Mario Perlingieri, an Italian painter who had studied with Picasso, introduced Agha to abstraction in 1946. Unlike the majority of Pakistani artists in the 1950s and 1960s, who emulated Cubism (see Cubism, §I), Agha evolved a personal style synthesizing East and West. Four years in London and Paris (1950–53) brought her face to face with modern European art. Agha’s predilection for discordant shapes, tension, and mysterious and irrational juxtapositions link her art to that of Marc Chagall and Edvard Munch. An intensely private and cerebral individual, she was awarded the President’s Medal for Pride of Performance in ...

Article

Marcella Nesom-Sirhandi

(b Delhi, India, Feb 4, 1941; d Lahore, Pakistan, Jan 18, 1999).

Pakistani painter, sculptor and printmaker. Educated in Pakistan and abroad, he has consciously and successfully synthesized Eastern and Western aesthetic traditions. In 1963, a year after graduating from the National College of Arts, Lahore, he joined the faculty as a lecturer in art, later becoming a professor and head of the Department of Fine Arts. His studies abroad have included post-graduate work in London (1966–7, 1968–9) and the United States (1987–9).

Like many of his colleagues, Zahoor was influenced by his mentor, Shakir ‛Ali, principal of the National College of Art from 1961 to 1975. Both artists were motivated by art history, philosophy and aesthetics. Zahoor’s non-figurative paintings of the 1960s evolved into tangible—though not always realistic—images addressing the dualities of space and time, East and West. Most of his triptychs and single canvases were conceived within a grid that provides a stabilizing structure for their compositions. This grid refers to Zahoor’s admiration for the American artist ...

Article

Marcella Nesom-Sirhandi

(b Rampur, 1916; d Lahore, 1975).

Pakistani painter. A seminal figure, Shakir ‛Ali introduced Cubism to Lahore in 1952. His style quickly became fashionable there, was adopted in Karachi and dominated the art scene for more than a decade (see Pakistan, Islamic Republic of §III).

Shakir ‛Ali first studied painting at the Ukil Brothers Studio in Delhi. In 1938, after a year in that city, he joined the J. J. School of Art, Bombay, which promoted the British system of art education—drawing from cast and copying Old Masters. From the school’s director, Charles Gerrard, Shakir learned mural painting and was introduced to Impressionism. He also learned about indigenous art such as that at Ajanta (see Ajanta, §2, (i)) and the modern work of Roy, Jamini and Sher-Gil, Amrita.

After receiving a diploma in fine art from the Slade School of Art, London, Shakir ‛Ali studied with André Lhote in France. Moving to Prague, he joined the School of Industrial Design and studied textile design. From Prague, Shakir went to Lahore, where he was appointed Professor and head of the art department at the Mayo School of Arts. In ...

Article

R. Siva Kumar

(b Bankura, May 25, 1906; d Calcutta, Aug 2, 1980).

Indian sculptor and painter . The example of rural craftsmen inspired him to paint curtains for village theatre and posters for the nationalist demonstrations before he was taken in 1925 to the art college at Santiniketan in West Bengal by the nationalist leader, publisher and patron Ramananda Chatterjee (1865–1943). He was initially influenced by Abanindranath Tagore and Nandalal Bose but soon developed an individual perception and a keen interest in sculpture. His early outdoor sculptures, such as Sujata (1935), Santal Family (1939) and the Lamp Stand (1940), were made in situ in Santiniketan in concrete and were environmental in scale and theme.

Although best known for his sculpture, as a painter Baij, along with Benode Behari Mukherjee, was one of the first Indian artists to show a deep understanding of modern Western art. In the late 1930s and early 1940s he made reference in his formal language to Post-Impressionism, Cubism and Futurism, although he consistently derived his imagery from immediate visual experience. The combination of these influences with his natural ...

Article

Susan Pares

[Pak Sŏ-bo]

(b1931).

Korean painter and teacher. He graduated in 1954 from the Fine Arts College, Hong’ik University, Seoul, and exhibited in Korea, East and South-east Asia, the USA, Europe and elsewhere. He is regarded as a leader of Korean modernism. Park has used a variety of techniques. Typical of his Art informel stage is Painting No. 1 (1957; oil on canvas, priv. col., see Young-na Kim, p. 177), where paint was splashed on to the canvas. In his ‘white’ paintings, thin layers of gesso were applied over a period of time, then graphite and gesso were applied alternately to build up a surface. In 1989 he began to use tak (mulberry bark paper), laid in three layers on canvas, sealed with gesso and overlaid with acrylic paint. Further sheets of paper, soaked in acrylic medium or Korean ink, were then laid, and the surface was manipulated with the fingers or an implement. In working or marking the surface Park’s intention was to help the medium to express itself by adding nothing more than a sign of his involvement, which he termed his ‘écriture’; one of his works is titled simply ...

Article

R. Siva Kumar

(b Kharagpur, Dec 3, 1882; d Shantiniketan, April 16, 1966).

Indian painter and teacher. The foremost student of Abanindranath Tagore and a close associate of Rabindranath Tagore (see Tagore family §(1)), he was a resourceful artist and teacher. His early paintings (e.g. Sati, watercolour, c. 1907; destr.; copy in Delhi, N.G. Mod. A.), revivalist in style and mythological and literary in content, were influenced by the cultural nationalism of Ernest Binfield Havell and of Sister Nivedita and by the early work of Abanindranath Tagore. These paintings brought him to public notice while he was still a student. His sensibility was modified by his study of the wall paintings of Ajanta and of East Asian art, which he was encouraged in first by the Japanese artist Arai Kempo (1878–1945) in 1916 and later by a visit in 1924 to China and Japan. These interests were supplemented by the ideas of Rabindranath Tagore, Ananda Kentish Coomaraswamy, Okakura Kakuzo and Mahatma Gandhi (...

Article

S. J. Vernoit

(b 1872; d Srinagar, 1955).

English art historian, museum curator, educationalist, painter and collector. In 1899, after a short period of training as an archaeologist in Egypt, Brown went to India, where he served as curator of Lahore Museum and principal of the Mayo School of Art, Lahore. While working in these posts, he was also assistant director of the Delhi Exhibition of 1902–3 (see Delhi, §II), under George Watt. In 1909 he took up employment in Calcutta as principal of the Government School of Art and curator of the art section of the Indian Museum. In 1927 he retired from the Indian Educational Service to take up an appointment as secretary and curator of the Victoria Memorial Hall in Calcutta, where he remained until 1947. After this he lived on a houseboat on the Dal Lake in Srinagar, Kashmir.

Brown’s earliest publications included a contribution to the catalogue of the Delhi Exhibition and a descriptive guide to the Department of Industrial Art at Lahore Museum in ...

Article

Marcella Nesom-Sirhandi

(b Wazirabad, 1895; d Lahore, 1978).

Pakistani painter and etcher. Apprenticed at age five to Master Abdulla, a Mughal miniature artist of Lahore, by age fourteen Bux had become an accomplished signboard painter. He worked as a carriage painter for Mughalpura Railway and as a scene painter for Agha Hasher Kashmiri’s theatrical company. In 1914 he went to Bombay, where he was employed as a photographer, retouch artist and portrait and landscape painter at the Bombay Art Studio. After returning to Lahore in 1919, he became a fine art painter who supported himself as a commercial artist.

Bux was known as the ‘Krishna painter’, after one of his favourite themes, and until 1947 was readily patronized by the Hindu community of Lahore. Panoramic fantasies filled with earthly and floating figures and brightly coloured realistic or abstract landscapes recall Maxfield Parrish, Gustave Moreau and the Symbolists. Bux had access to Western originals in the collection of Bhupindra Singh, ruler of Patiala, for whom he worked part-time for several years....

Article

Marcella Nesom-Sirhandi

(b Lahore, 21 Sept ?1894; d Lahore, Jan 17, 1975).

Pakistani painter, etcher and engraver. Though he was self-taught, his early style is indistinguishable from that of the Bengal School (see Calcutta, §3). He may have been influenced by the Calcutta-trained painter Samenendranath Gupta, who was a teacher and vice-principal at the Mayo School of Arts during Chughtai’s years there in the early 1920s as a drawing master in the photolithography department.

Like the Bengal School artists, Chughtai painted exclusively in watercolour and illustrated Hindu and Buddhist myths and Indian genre scenes. Unlike them, however, he also painted scenes from Islamic history and literature and Punjabi legends. By the 1940s he had evolved a highly personal style that reflected his interest in Persian, Mughal and Rajput painting as well as Japanese woodcuts and European painting, particularly Art Nouveau.

A skilled draughtsman with an innate sense of colour and design, Chughtai often gave an amusing twist to his large watercolours. He was an accomplished etcher and engraver, having studied these arts in London during two visits in ...

Article

Siri Gunasinghe

(b Colombo, July 20, 1903; d Colombo, May 24, 1967).

Sri Lankan painter. He was best known among the painters of his generation as an enthusiastic exponent of the principles and practices of contemporary European painting (see Sri Lanka, §V, 2, (v)). His affection for Western art was due in large measure to his artistic training at the Slade School of Fine Art, London, and Académie Julian, Paris. Daraniyagala has generally been credited with introducing Post-Impressionism to Sri Lanka in the late 1920s. His early paintings, like those of the artists of the French school, show a marked penchant for the simplified significant form and a disregard for visual truth. Despite his obvious admiration for French artists, he was not satisfied simply to follow in their wake, but set himself the task of developing a personal idiom based on his European experience. He favoured the use of thick layers of colour set down in bold, sweeping brushstrokes and marked impasto that created a heavily textured pictorial surface. His paintings have been noted for their expressionistic spirit. Daraniyagala was indeed considered a leader among Asian expressionists. He painted with great abandon and exerted much influence on his contemporaries, who recognized the liberating effect of his style....

Article

Partha Mitter

(b Calcutta, June 18, 1875; d Calcutta, Feb 23, 1962).

Indian painter. Sunyani belonged to the aristocratic Tagore family family of Calcutta that had led the literary and artistic Renaissance in Bengal in the 19th century. She was the niece of the great poet Rabindranath Tagore and her brother Abanindranath, who had inspired her, was leader of the nationalist art movement in India known as the Bengal school. The first woman artist of India to gain public recognition, she was included in the exhibition of the Society of Oriental Art held in Calcutta in 1922,which also showed the works of Klee, Kandinsky and other Bauhaus artists.

The Austrian art historian Stella Kramrisch became her fervent champion, publicizing her work in the German art magazine Der Cicerone in 1925. In 1927 she was invited to exhibit at the Women’s International Art Club in London. Sunyani’s sources were eclectic. As a child, she was drawn to the devotional pictures that hung in her aunt’s room and the popular mythological prints of the 19th-century academic painter, Ravi Varma. Through her brother Abanindranath, she discovered Rajput miniatures and, above all, the popular urban art of Kalighat, which was appreciated by the intelligentsia for the first time in the 1920s. However, the subject-matter of her art belonged to a private inner world: she claimed that most of her subjects first appeared to her in dreams. Her subject-matter ranged from religious subjects and mythology to portraits, done with simple and bold outlines in transparent watercolours on paper. Although she was the matriarch of a large household, during her most productive years (...

Article

Peter A. Nagy

(b Bombay, Jan 20, 1959).

Indian painter and installation artist. Dodiya studied painting at the Sir J.J. School of Art in Bombay (1982). His earliest works were large-scale paintings of Indian landscapes of rural or suburban scenes, usually devoid of humans, highlighting minimal arrangements of architectural forms with a strong tendency towards Pop art (see fig.). While studying at the École des Beaux-Arts, Paris (1991–2) Dodiya became familiar with developments in both European and American painting. He returned to India and began to combine images from a diverse array of sources: popular cartoons, schoolbook illustrations, religious iconography, textile motifs and quotations from classical and contemporary Indian and international art.

Works such as Obedient Boy (1999) and Polke’s Eye (1999; see Kunsthalle exh. cat., p.134) synthesize eclectic sources and construct the identity of a contemporary artist in India’s largest city. A body of work from the previous year had posited Mahatma Gandhi as an artist of sorts, comparing his ascetic practices with Modernist art, as in ...

Article

Agung Hujatnikajennong

(b Jakarta, June 12, 1960).

Indonesian painter, installation, video and performance artist. Dono studied art at the Indonesian Institute of the Arts (ISI), Yogyakarta (1980–87) while also studying traditional Javanese shadow-puppetry (wayang kulit) under the puppeteer (dalang) Sukasman. He became known for producing works inspired by shadow-puppetry (e.g. the painting The Legend Puppet, 1988); adapting the two-dimensional imagery, the gamelan music and narration of wayang kulit to recreate metaphors of modern civilization. Dono’s work encompassed painting, sculpture, installation and performances, often employing low-tech multimedia and self-assembled electronic devices that generate music, moving images, light projection, producing a low-tech kinetic environment (e.g. Flying Angels, 1996).

Dono’s works create a meticulous connection between traditional puppetry and modern animation, as he viewed both types of moving images as lively worlds of absurdity where narratives often do not make any sense, yet seem enjoyable for people of all ages. Dono’s socio-political background—the repression of artistic freedom during the Indonesian New Order regime—drove him to choose a kind of foolish, impolite, stupid, naive, ridiculous and teasing expression in his works. Metaphors and criticism deeply imbued with jokes were the safest ways to avoid suppression and censorship by the regime. In creating criticism through ...

Article

Sumitra Kumar Srinivasan

(b Nagpur, Maharashtra, Nov 2, 1924; d Gurgaon, Haryana, Aug 10, 2001).

Indian painter. He distinguished himself by developing a stylistic vocabulary of semi-abstract expression that reflects his distinctive ideation. Deeply interested in metaphysics, philosophy and classical music, he evolved a highly personalized idiom in his work that captures the vibrancy of the indigenous environment and its complex thought processes. A pragmatic distillation of these elements and ideas are seen in the visual paradigms and textural codes that Gaitonde created to portray the inner dimensions of colour, space and form. His multi-layered works subtly open luminous colour fields that seem to float and hover over one another in absolute harmony. His meticulous technical virtuosity and prodigious creativity put him in the vanguard of Indian modernism.

Gaitonde received a diploma from the Sir Jamshetjee Jeejebhoy School of Art, Bombay, in 1948. In the early 1950s he struggled to rid himself of the shackles of academicism through experimentation. He worked at the Bhulabhai Memorial Institute, Bombay, which offered artists studio facilities and housed multi-disciplinary facilities, including the theatre unit of Ebrahim Alkazi and Ravi Shankar’s Kirana School of Music, offering an ideal environment for introspection, interaction and creative growth. During the 1950s Gaitonde shifted from figuration to the linear geometrics of a semi-abstract style. Disciplined draughtsmanship and compositional strength characterized his work. Using the palette knife he manipulated oil pigments on large canvases in a dense, opaque configuration of intensely rhythmic structures. Diffused figuration was focally placed within immense undulating matrices of powerfully textured space. A low-key, nearly monochromatic palette integrated such subtly related tones as pale greys, subdued blues and white. He worked the palette knife in broad and narrow strokes....

Article

Anis Farooqi

(b Jhelum, West Punjab [now in Pakistan], Dec 25, 1925).

Indian painter, sculptor, printmaker and architect. Totally deaf from the age of 13, he studied painting at the Mayo School of Art, Lahore, from 1939 to 1944, and then at the Sir Jamshetjee Jeejebhoy School of Art, Bombay, from 1944 to 1947. After independence and the partition of India and Pakistan in 1947, he pursued his artistic career in India and for several years expressed in his work the anguish of the partition. From 1952 to 1954 he studied at the Palacio de Bellas Artes, Mexico City, and from 1953 to 1954 worked under David Alfaro Siqueiros on murals in University City, MI. He was also influenced by the work of the Mexican artist José Clemente Orozco, especially by his use of large forms and his treatment of human anatomy. In his paintings of this period, such as Despair (1954; oil, 0.9×0.9 m; New Delhi, N.G. Mod. A.) and ...

Article

(b Peshawar, Oct 25, 1926).

Pakistani painter and sculptor. He began painting while training as an engineer in the USA (Columbia and Harvard universities) and held his first exhibition in 1950. He continued to paint while secretary at the Pakistan embassy at Ottawa during the 1950s, developing a reputation for portraiture. In 1957 he was commissioned to paint the portrait of King Zahir Shah of Afghanistan, and in 1959 he held an exhibition of 151 paintings and sketches in Kabul. He also painted portraits of Prince Karim Aga Khan (1961), Zhou Enlai (1964), Queen Farah Diba of Iran (1965) and President Ayub Khan of Pakistan (1968). He then turned to making portraits from marble mosaic and semi-precious stones, a technique that he had developed in Kabul in 1959. His abstract paintings, produced since the 1960s, incorporate ornamental calligraphy, coloured beads, small pieces of mirror, and gold and silver leaf. These works include a large abstract mural painted in ...

Article

Richard Cork

(b India, Feb 15, 1884; d Cookham, Berks, March 13, 1959).

English painter, designer, ceramicist and sculptor. He studied at the Slade School of Fine Art between 1899 and 1903, where Wyndham Lewis was a fellow student, and then taught art at Clifton College (1907–10). It seems that Hamilton was in sympathy with avant-garde developments since he was involved c. 1912 with the Cave of the Golden Calf, the audacious cabaret club decorated with murals and sculpture by Jacob Epstein, Eric Gill, Charles Ginner, Spencer Gore and Wyndham Lewis. His work was shown in the final month of Roger Fry’s Second Post-Impressionist Exhibition (January 1913) in London, and later that year he joined the Omega Workshops, designing furniture, clothes and avant-garde interiors. In October 1913, however, he left Omega with Frederick Etchells, Lewis and Edward Wadsworth in protest against Fry’s policy.

Hamilton’s work was included in the ‘Cubist Room’ section of the Camden Town Group and Others...

Article

Hans Ebbink

(b Sabang, Dutch East Indies [now Indonesia], Feb 9, 1924; d Den Ils, Netherlands, April 9, 2005).

Dutch printmaker and painter. His experience in a Nazi concentration camp in 1943, where he nearly died, marked his work. In 1951, after a voluntary stay in a mental hospital, he decided to devote himself to a life as an artist. After 1961 Heyboer lived in an isolated community in a barn at Den Ilp, north of Amsterdam, which he shared with three women. His images from the early 1950s, almost exclusively etchings, show ships in Ijmuiden port and his shabby living dwellings. The first etchings reflecting his mental condition also date from this period. In Awareness of the Wound (1954; The Hague, Gemeentemus.) he depicted himself as a simplified Man of Sorrows, wearing a crown of thorns and displaying his stigma, a bleeding heart. In the same year Heyboer recorded crucial moments of his life in works such as Defence of Immature Things, which consists of a large number of sheets of paper bearing definitions of ‘being’, ‘conscience’, ‘suffering’, ‘innocence’ and related concepts. Heyboer’s source of reference was Christian symbolism. To express the relationship with his fellow men he used the cross as the symbol of suffering. In ...

Article

R. Siva Kumar

(b Chittagong, April 13, 1921).

Indian printmaker, sculptor and painter. He began with visual reporting of the 1943 Bengal famine for the Communist Party organ Jannayuddha (People’s War); he was also associated with the 1946 peasant unrest. Later, at the Calcutta Art School, he mastered traditional printmaking media. He devoted himself seriously to printmaking in the 1950s, developing viscosity printing independently in ...