Asia Society Plans Indian ‘Progressive Artists’ Group’ Exhibit

M.F. Husain. Peasant Couple, 1950. Oil on canvas. Peabody Essex Museum, Gift of the Chester and Davida Herwitz Collection, 2003. Courtesy of the Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, MA. (Photo by Walter Silver via News India Times).

The Asia Society in New York will on September 14 unveil “The Progressive Revolution: Modern Art for a New India,” an exhibition of more than 80 works by members of the Progressive Artists’ Group, which formed in Bombay (today known as Mumbai) in the aftermath of independence. The exhibition will run through Jan. 20, 2019.

The works will explore “the ways in which artists from different social, cultural, and religious backgrounds found common cause at a time of massive political and social upheaval,” writes Sujeet Rajan in News India Times.

The Progressive Artists’ Group officially disbanded in the mid-1950s. But the works in the exhibit, primarily oil paintings, were produced from the 1940s to the 1990s, writes Rajan, and “underscore how these artists gave visual form to the idea of India as secular, diverse, international, and united.”

Rajan also notes that…

…The Asia Society exhibition comes at a time when Indian art has picked up steam, and is doing well at auctions globally. Christie’s, who pulled out from India, have had a good response to their Indian modern and contemporary art auctions in New York City, over the last couple of years.

Saffronart’s Summer Online Auction, in June, achieved sales of $11.4 million, with 85% lots sold. The auction achieved world records for six artists, with Tyeb Mehta’s iconic and monumental Untitled (Kali), 1989 – one of only three standing figures painted by the artist – setting a new world record for the artist at around $4 million.

Read more about the exhibit at News India Times.

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