DAG brings together the exhibition Indian Blue: From Realism to Abstraction

The exhibition features over 90 artists including Jamini Roy, Nandalal Bose, Jogen Chowdhury, Ganesh Pyne, Russian artist Nicholas Roerich, F.N. Souza, M.F. Husain, S.H. Raza, Satish Gujral, and more

Blue Cliff by Nicholas

Blue Cliff by Nicholas Roerich

October 12, 2021: An exhibition following from previous exhibitions that looked at artistic practices across the decades of the 1950s, ‘60s, and ‘70s, Indian Blue examines how artists have addressed their work through the prism of the colour blue that has imbued with nuances particular to the country and its culture.

To quote the words of Nicholas Roerich, “Where can one have such joy as when the sun is upon the Himalayas, when the blue is more intense than sapphires, when from the far distance, the glaciers flitter as incomparable gems!”

Roof Tops Avinash Chandra

Roof Tops by Avinash Chandra

An art company with India’s largest inventory of art and archival material, DAG has brought together an exhibition exploring the nuances of the most varied of colours written into the fabric of the country - the blue of the skies and oceans, the rivers and lakes, the blue of ancient royalty and that of Koh-i-noor, of Ambedkar’s famous power-suit, of the peacock’s feathers and Lord Shiva’s throat, the blue of Kali and the hue of Ram and Krishna, the often overlooked fourth hue of the Indian flag - in an attempt to research the artistic responses to it spanning over a century of art practice. 

This exhibition uncovers a range of artistic practices from the realistic to the abstract, from landscapes and portraits to history paintings and figurative narrations, across an equally interesting range of mediums-oils, watercolours, acrylics, printmaking, sculpture - and periods, examining the history of the colour blue in India, and the world prompted by its seemingly universal value.

Shiva's Bull Satish Gujral

Shiva's Bull by Satish Gujral

Blue is used by landscape artists not just for the sea and the sky but to suggest vast distance or to denote shadows. And it is in the same line that Nicholas Roerich has painted Blue Cliff - a massing of rocks of various shades of blue to suggest depth as well as light and shadow: a mastery work to represent the loft Himalayas. Untitled (River Scene) by K.C.S. Paniker is one of the last works in which the artist turned to his academic training as a device for communication.

A painting by Jamini Roy, a tempera abstract that seems to consist almost entirely of a textured blue mottled with red and a few diagonal lines, is the greatest surprise of the exhibition - it is a rare work almost never before seen from the master oeuvre.

The exhibition features over 90 artists including Jamini Roy, Nandalal Bose, Sunayani Devi, Jogen Chowdhury, Abanindranth Tagore, Ganesh Pyne, Ramkinkar Baij, all from Bengal, the Russian artist Nicholas Roerich, who made his home in India; pioneering modernists such as F.N. Souza, M.F. Husain, S.H. Raza, Himmat Shah, Prabhakar Barwe, Satish Gujral, Avinash Chandra, G.R. Santosh and other like Jeram Patel, Paritosh Sen, Prokash Karmakar, Krishna Reddy, Manu and Madhvi Parekh, Devyani and Kanwal Krishna, J. Sultan Ali, Natvar Bhavsar, Jyoti Bhatt, Chittaprosad, Shanti Dave, Biren De, Rabin Mondal, A.H. Muller, K.K. Hebbar, K. Laxma Goud, Laxman Pai, Gogi Saroj Pal, Anupam Sud, Bireswar Sen. 

Untitled River Scene

Untitled (River scene) by K.C.S. Paniker

Indian Blue, in an effort to examine the relationship civilisations share with the colour blue, not only helps the viewers understand the artistic responses to its hues and tones at a subliminal level—something it achieves through the chosen colour under investigation in this exhibition—but also goes beyond it to examine the role colours play in human lives. And what better way to explore this rich sensory archive than through the world as visualised by artists. 

The exhibition is open at DAG, The Claridges, New Delhi for two months.

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