Sahelis, every partygoer must be well versed for interesting conversation. Gone are the days when Monet, Van Gogh and Picasso were all you needed to be familiar with to speak intelligently about art. Cocktail party chatter has evolved to include artists from around the world, including those from the South Asian subcontinent. CitySaheli wants to make sure our Sahelis are in-the-know when it comes to top artists from this region. Here are the top five you should know to get you through any cocktail party unscathed.
Raja Ravi Varma
Varma is one of the greatest painters in the history of Indian art. Varma traveled all over India and evolved a national style of painting. He came from the princely state of Travancore and achieved recognition for his depiction of scenes from the epics of the Mahabharata and Ramayana.
Varma’s paintings are considered to be among the best examples of the fusion of Indian traditions with techniques from European academic art. He is most remembered for his paintings of beautiful sari-clad women.
Sher-Gil is one of India’s greatest female artists, with over 100 of her paintings displayed at the National Gallery of Modern Art in New Delhi. The daughter of a Sikh aristocrat and Jewish Opera singer, Sher-Gil was born and spent most of her childhood in Budapest, Hungry. At the age of 8 her family moved to Shimla, India, where she began to learn to formally paint. At 16 she sailed to Europe with her mother and began to formally train in Paris.
Sher-Gil’s earlier paintings display Western modes of paintings, but when she later returned to India, her rediscovery of the Indian traditions of art is apparent in her work.
Born in Goa, India, Souza founded the Progressive Artists’ Group with SH Raza to encourage Indian artists to participate in the international avant-garde. After India’s independence, Souza moved to London and ultimately settled in New York. Souza was one of the first post-independence Indian artists to receive recognition in the West.
The subjects covered in Souza’s paintings often comprise of still life, landscape, nudes and icons of Christianity and there is a visible influence of the folk art of Goa. The figures, however, are deliberately distorted and reveal an uninhibited style, demonstrating Souza’s rebel and non conformist views.
Raza has lived in France since the 50s but still hold strong ties to India. He is also a former member of the Progressive Artists’ Group.
Raza is a nature based painter who evolved from painting expressionistic landscapes to abstract ones. Raza abandoned the expressionistic landscape for a geometric abstraction and the Bindu, which Raza perceives as the center of creation and existence.
MF Hussain is considered to be Indian’s leading artist and according to Forbes magazine, is the “Picasso of India.” He is India’s highest paid painter and a painting of his have sold for over $2 million at Christies. In the 90s some of Hussain’s works became controversial because of their portrayal of Hindu deities in the nude. As a result his house was attacked and series of charges were brought against him, forcing him to flee the country.
MF Hussain was one of the early joiners of the Progressive Artists’ Group of Bombay. Hussain’s multi-faceted personality is displayed in most of his pieces, where he uses vibrant colors and a mysterious painting style.