Apparao Galleries, originally called ‘The Gallery’ was launched in 1984 in Chennai. With the
globalization of art and a keen interest in contemporary art, its pioneer Sharan Apparao, has built
Apparao Galleries to one of the leading contemporary art galleries in India.
Apparao Galleries caters to the aesthetic needs of the Indian diaspora and provides a window
to the exciting trends that emerge from South India. The gallery has the distinction of having promoted
some of the most renowned names of Indian Contemporary Art.
The gallery deals with established artists while also building unknown emerging artists into ‘brands’
in the art world. Having taken on the mantel of an incubator Apparao Galleries has discovered and
supported several young artists.
Apparao Galleries understands the needs of the collectors and acts as a consultant to
authenticate and document all aspects of contemporary art for private and corporate collectors.
Apparao Galleries is nurtured with passion by Sharan Apparao who firmly believes in ‘art for
art’s sake’. The gallery looks at art with an open mind and continues to inspire artists and art lovers
from all walks of life.
About the Events:
Modern Masters of Indian Art
An independent India, as expected, ushered in a new page of history and, amongst others,
the art movement gained momentum. Since the 50s the movement has changed and adapted with the
history and the growth of the country. A glance at the art movement of the last five to six decades
shows how certain artists have contributed significantly to it and gained a well-earned place.
Some of the artists went on to become educators while others held very strong views and
soon had their own followers. There were yet others who created their own significant space.
The last 60 years covers broadly three to four generations of artists.
This exhibition presents to the viewer a sampling of their work. It is by no means a definitive
study of the history but just a glimpse into the window of the work of the artists who contributed to
the history of the modern art movement in India.
This show will include the work of MF Hussain, Raza, Souza, Gulam Sheikh, Krishen Khanna,
Gaitonde, Arpita Singh, Nasreen Mohammedi, Panniker, Redappa Naidu, Bikash Bhattachrya, Laxma
Goud, Garesh Pyne, Jogen Chowdhury, Sabavala, Padamsee, Anjoli Ela Menon, Arpana Caur, Rekha
Rodwittiya and others.
A ROOM WITH A VIEW
Paintings,drawings,etchings and sculptures, over the years
Laxma Goud is one of indias most well known printmakers and draughtsmen. Exceptionally skilled and versatile, he has
been a practicing artist since the sixties and a mentor to many artists and art students. Working with varied mediums, showing
great dedication, he mastered and controlled the line and this was first evident in his exceptional etchings from the seventies.
It is in these very etchings that one sees his facination with fantasy. He plays the role of the voyeur to the hilt allowing all
forms of fantasy to enter his work and mindspace. This feature is carried further into his later work as well appearing in different
forms even into his three-dimensional sculptures.
“A Room With A View “is a peep into the fascinating mindspace of Laxma Goud. It is a specially created installation of
overlapping ideas, mediums, forms and works. It is a mere view, and hence the title “A Room With A View”
This exhibition as part of Art Chennai at Apparao Infinity, is culled together from private collections in Chennai allowing
one a glimpse at this fascinating artists oeurve.
Dr. Ashrafi S. Bhagat
In the late 1950s, the ambience at the Madras School of Arts and Crafts in Chennai was tinged with high-spiritedness and
dynamic energy, with teachers and students confidently exploring and investigating various technique, media and visual language.
The enthusiasm and inherent vigour offered momentum for the full effulgence of the development of modernity in art namely the
Madras Art Movement. One artist who emerged from within this vitiating milieu in the late 50s was A. P. Santhanaraj. Described
as an artist genius, exemplary teacher, a pioneer and innovator he seemingly exerted tremendous influence on his students, which
describes him as one of the pillars of the Madras School of Arts
Born on 13th March, 1932 at Tiruvannamalai in Tamilnadu, his predilection in drawing manifested from an impressionable
age of four. In kindling interest in the world of visual perception his mother played a formative role. His life revolved around
her – a powerful, influential and a dominating personality in a household of eight. She kept him distracted, through drawings and
picture alphabets when he became irritable and tense. This was his baptism into the world of art.
The formative years at the Madras School of Arts and Crafts where he obtained his art pedagogy, shaped his vision
and simultaneously he was drawn into the creative vortex that was developing under the regime of K.C.S. Paniker namely the
question of ‘Indian identity’ within mainstream internationalism. Said Santhanaraj, “Paniker, induced his disciples to think on
national level rather than on purely modern styles. He wanted identity of Indian tradition as inspiration. He wanted them to be
very conscious of Indian culture.” His contribution towards this debate was considered decisive.
Santhanaraj played a seminal and an energetic role in the growth and development of the Madras Art Movement. His
regional sensibility manifested in the primeval quality of his line, the strong reductive simplicity of his forms, the iconic frontality
that was salient of folk and tribal arts and the brilliant juxtaposition of colours. He drew his sustenance in art from life around him.
He reinforced the concept of indigenism/nativism by his themes of pastoral life - women at leisure, playing with deer’s, adorning
herself, absorbed in her household chores - all realized exclusively through his numenous space, the decorative line and brilliant
juxtaposition of colours. His style approaches the cubists and expressionists particularly for their fractured fragmented angular
forms and expressive emotional distortions that carried regional and folk inspired imagery. Within the ‘Indian’ classical pictorial
art observed in the murals at Thanjavur and Sittanavasal, he constructed the figures sensuously with an earthy feel for the form
but within modernist trends he explored it purely as an object within two-dimensionality of the picture plane implicating the
male gaze. An interesting aspect of his landscape construction was the manner in which the foreground engages with narrative
elements while the background was like a wall. This challenge he responded, by fracturing the space as series of decorative shaped
patches. This patched treatment was intentional to go beyond opticality and create an ‘atmosphere’ of mystery and strangeness.
Santhanaraj’s originality and novel approach to picture making is identified in this area. It is this ambiguous definition between
the foreground and the background that imparts a mystical aura or ‘atmosphere’ that Santhanaraj equates to music. His paintings
and drawings convey the same feel. In the tradition of the Madras Art Movement his works mark a different signpost.
Santhanaraj till the end of his life continued to paint in the same mode. His medium however varied from oils to acrylics
to water colours to colored felt pens. His narrative themes remain pastoral as also his female forms. There is in his works a
sense of heightened attenuation bordering on stylization. Collectively these accretions lend his created expressions a sense of
decorative design and patterning providing a familial link with the Madras Group.
Ms. Ashrafi S. Bhagat M.A., M.Phil, P.hd. is an Art Historian. and an Art Critic She is an Associate Professor and Former Head, Department of Fine Arts
Stella Maris College, [Autonomous] Chennai. She writes on contemporary art and issues in various magazines and journals.
About the Artists:
Anjolie Ela Menon (b.1940)
Born of mixed Bengali and American parentage Anjolie Ela Menon briefly attended
J.J. School of art in Bombay and subsequently earned a degree of English Literature
from Delhi University. Showing promise as a teenager, Menon worked and studied in
Paris at the Ecole des Beaux Arts in 1961-62 on a French Government scholarship.
Before returning home, she traveled extensively in Europe and West Asia studying
Romanesque and Byzantine art. Since then she has lived and worked in India, in
England, the U.S.A., Germany and the erstwhile USSR. She had over thirty solo
shows including at Black heath Gallery-London, Gallery Radicke-Bonn, Winston
Gallery-Washington, Doma Rabindra Bhavanand Shridharani Gallery-New Delhi,
Academy of Fine Arts-Calcutta, the Gallery-Madras, Chemould Gallery, Taj Gallery,
Bombay and Maya Gallery at the Museum Annexe, Hong Kong. A retrospective
exhibition was held in 1988 in Bombay.
In addition to paintings in private and corporate collections, her works have been
acquired by museums in India and abroad. Menon has served on the advisory
committee and the art purchase committee of the National Gallery of Modem
Art, New Delhi, where she was co-curator with Henri Claude Cousseau for a
rnajor exhibition of French Contemporary Art in 1996. A book titled “ANJOLIE
ELA MENON: Paintings in Private Collections” has been published on her life and
The artist lives and works in Delhi.
Bikash Bhattacharjee (1940 – 2006)
Having lost his father at a very young age Bikash Bhattacharjee had a childhood
full of struggle. Form his early years, the rooftops and alleyways of north Calcutta,
the crumbling walls of buildings, the variety of people wove a certain magic in
his mind. In 1963, he graduated from Indian College of Art and Draftsmanship.
He began teaching at Indian College of Art and Draftsmanship in 1968. Later
from 1973, Bhattacharjee began teaching at the Government College of Art &
Craft and taught there till 1982. In 1964, he became a member of the Society of
At his best Bhattacharjee achieves an enigmatic quality in his paintings that works
on many levels from the visual to the subconscious. Female beauty is a major
preoccupation of Bhattacharjee. But he also creates a varied cast of characters in
his canvases- old men and women, children, domestic help etc.
Ganesh Pyne (b.1937)
Probably the foremost exponent of the Bengal School of art, Ganesh Pyne’s
signature style shaped from his own experiences of solitude, alienation, pain,
horror and moods of tenderness and serenity comes to surface in each of his
works. The lines are bold, precise, controlled and the drawings that emerge are
potent both in form and content. Stripped of color, they convey an architectonic
quality in the structuring of the images.
He is obsessed with death. He can’t forget his first brush with death, in the
summer of 1946, when communal riots had rocked Kolkata. His family was forced
out of their crumbling mansion. As he roamed around the city, he came across
death in all its stark reality, all around him. No wonder his paintings rarely have
light backgrounds, and blue and black are his favorite colors. Working mostly in
tempera, his paintings are rich in imagery and symbolism.
Initially, Pyne painted watercolors and sketches of misty mornings and wayside
temples, variously influenced as he was by Walt Disney, Abanindranath Tagore, Hals
Rembrandt and Paul Klee. Equally devoted to cinema as he is to painting, Pyne has
also drawn inspirations from movies made by Fellini and Ingmar Bergman.
Jehangir Sabavala (b.1922)
Born in 1922 in Mumbai, Jehangir Sabavala studied at the best-known art colleges
of the world. After receiving his first fine arts diploma from the Sir J.J. School of Art,
Mumbai, in 1944, Sabavala went to Europe and studied at the Heatherley School of
Art, London, from 1945 to 1947, and in Paris at the Academie Andre Lhote from
1948 to 1951, the Academie Julian from 1953 to 1954, and the Academic de la
Grande Chaumiere in 1957.In the artist’s early works, the human form emerged as only a minuscule element
on the canvas, shrouded in silence and encapsulating the notion of solitude
perfectly. However, his figures have begun to reveal more and more of themselves,
even though they are still distanced from the viewer.
Sabavala’s career has spanned more than sixty years since his first solo exhibition.
He has held 27 one man shows across India and abroad. These include the ’Art
Now in India’ Exhibition, the Venice Biennale, the exhibition of the Arts Council
of Great Britain, the 7th Triennale, India, the Masters of India Art Show, Mumbai,
the Southebys Islamic & Indian Art show, London and the Christies Indian
Contemporary Paintings, London. He has participated at the Salon National
Independent, Paris 1950, the Venice Biennial, 1954; Contemporary Art ftom India,
Washington 1975; Asian Artists Exhibition, Fukuoka Art Museum Tokyo, 1979 and
Modem Indian Painting, Hischhorn Museum Washington 1982. Apart from several
international auctions he has also participated in ‘Chamatkar-Fantasy in Indian Art’
presented by CIMA Gallery at Whiteleys’ London 1966.
Jehangir Sabavala lives and works in Mumbai.
Maqbool Fida Husain (b. 1915)
Painting billboards for feature films and making furniture designs and toys was
Husain’s first job. He earned a living with this alright, but the artist in him soon burst
forth in brilliant form and color and variety. Today, he is practically synonymous
with contemporary Indian art. A self-taught artist, he came to Mumbai in 1937,
determined to become a painter. In 1948, he was invited by F.N. Souza to join the
Progressive Artist’s Group, a group that was exploring a new idiom for Indian art.
In his work, he referred often to themes that blended folk, tribal and mythological
art to create vibrantly modern living art forms. He depicts the icons of Indian
culture, through the ages, seeking to capture the quintessence of his subjects, like
Mother Teresa, Lord Krishna and the Goddess Saraswati. In 1952, his first solo
exhibition was held at Zürich and over the next few years, his work was widely
seen in Europe and U.S.A. His rise as a public figure has been sustained and often
controversial, but his prodigious creativity has never ceased to surprise.
Husain’s art extended to feature films, such as “Through the Eyes of a Painter”,
in 1967, which was a Golden Bear Award winner at the Berlin Film Festival, and
“Gajagamini” in 2000. The Government of India honored him with the Padma
Bhushan and the Padma Vibhushan awards. He has also received the coveted Raja
Ravi Varma award. Husain went on to become one of India’s highest paid painters.
Today, he lives in self-imposed exile in Qatar, UAE.
Nasreen Mohemedi (1937 – 1990)
Born in Karachi, Nasreen Mohamedi moved with her family to Mumbai at the
age of seven. In 1954, she travelled abroad to study – in London at Saint Martin’s
School of Art, Paris on a scholarship from the French government. After she
returned to India she lived in Bombay, Delhi and finally settled in Baroda, where
she became a teacher in the prestigious Faculty of Fine Arts, MS University in 1972.
In Baroda, Mohamedi produced what has come to be seen as her classic work:
small-scale, abstract geometric drawings, painstakingly composed using pencil and
pen – working with the grid and deviating from it with the use of diagonal lines.
Virtually alone amongst her peers in India who generally favoured a figurative
narrative style, her lineage can be traced back to an earlier generation of Indian
artists engaged with abstraction such as V.S. Gaitonde. Despite Mohamedi’s
cosmopolitanism, her work also reflects her identity as a female Indian artist
working during the second half of the twentieth century as the subcontinent, its
landscapes, urban centres and Islamic heritage are often intimated in her work,
particularly her photographs.
S.H. Raza (b.1922)
A founder member of the Progressive Artists’ Group, Raza’s style has evolved over
the years -beginning with expressionist landscapes (drawing from a childhood spent
in the forests of Madhya Pradesh), which became rigid, geometric representations
of landscape in the 1950s. Later, the lines blurred and colour began to dominate;
his theme was still landscape but it was now non-representational. Towards the
1970s he turned to pure geometrical forms; fascinated by a metaphorical space in
the mind culminating into the circle or “Bindu” - which now became more of an
icon, sacred in its symbolism, and placing his work in an Indian context.
He has participated in numerous exhibitions, including the Sao Paulo Biennalein 1958, the Biennale de Menton, in France in 1966, 1968 and in 1978, and
Contemporary Indian Painting, at the Royal Academy in London, in 1982. He was
conferred the Padma Shree Award by the President of India, in 1981.
Raza lives and works in France.
V. S. Gaitonde (1924–2001)
Vasudeo S. Gaitonde was born in Maharashtra and received his diploma from the
Sir J. J. School of Art in 1948. He was invited to join the Progressive Artists Group
and actively participated in its activities. He had several solo exhibitions in India
and abroad and participated in group shows like the Indian art exhibition which
toured East European countries in 1956 and other group exhibitions at Graham
Gallery in New York in 1959 and Gallery 63 in New York, 1963.
One of the India’s foremost abstractionists, Gaitonde’s works are represented in
several Indian and foreign collections including the Museum of Modern Art, New
York. He was awarded the first prize at the Young Asian Artists Exhibition, Tokyo
in 1957 and the Rockefeller Fellowship in 1964. He was also awarded the Padma
Shri in 1971.
K. Laxma Goud (b. 1940)
The versatile Laxma Goud has been known for his quicksilver facility to master one
medium after another, throughout his eventful career. After a diploma in Drawing
& Painting from the Government School of Art and Architecture, Hyderabad, in
1963, he studied Mural Painting and Printmaking at the Faculty of Fine Arts at M.S.
University, Baroda, 1963 - 1965.
Laxma has a distinct style with finely chiseled pliant lines and delicate washes of
color that he uses to depict man’s interaction with nature. From men, women,
goats, huts to vegetation, his simple images reflect an idyllic reality that is being
threatened by urbanization. His works proves that there is “eroticism in nature
itself”, with protagonists who are raw and vivacious in their appeal. In later work,
his figures turn softer, more introspective.
In 2007, the exhibition, ‘Laxma Goud 40 Years: A Retrospective’ was organized
by Aicon Gallery, New York. Other recent solo shows of Goud’s work include
‘Sculptures, Bronze and Terra-cottas’ at the Guild Art Gallery, Mumbai, in 2006;
‘Recent Terracotta, Ceramic, Bronze Sculptures’ at Gallery Threshold, New Delhi,
and Pundole Art Gallery, Mumbai, in 2006; Aicon Gallery, New York, in 2003; and
Grey Art Gallery, New York, in 2001-02. Some noted group shows are ‘From the
Vault’ at Aicon Gallery, London and New York, in 2007; ‘17th Anniversary Show’ at
Gallery Sanskriti, Kolkata, in 2007; and ‘Back to the Future’ at Gallery Espace, New
Delhi, in 2006; São Paulo Biennale, Brazil, 1977; and ‘Indian Art Tomorrow’ at the
Philips Collection, Washington D.C., in 1986.
The artist lives and works in Hyderabad.
A P Santhanaraj (b. 1932-2009)
Santhanaraj studied at College of Arts and Crafts, Madras, started teaching there
in 1958 and was its Principal till his retirement.
One of the most distinctive aspects of AP Santhanaraj’s style is the quality of
line. He explored this element endlessly, creating a unique visual language, never
accepting a preconceived form. Interestingly, the artist always painted his canvases
flat on the ground, working on it from all angles – a measure of his unconventional,
uninhibited thinking process. For Santhanaraj, colors too were an inspiration, not
with their emotive quality but rather the atmosphere they exuded.
His exhibitions included Kumar Gallery in 1958; various State and National art
exhibitions; Commonwealth art exhibition in London; one man shows, Kumar
Gallery, 1996 and 2001; A Retrospective at Delhi by C.M.C., 1990. He was
recognized widely -
Various awards for his works since 1953 and National Award in 1957 and 1962;
executed portraits for the Parliament House, New Delhi and murals for the
Madras State Museum 1962; Tamil Nadu State Lalit Kala Akademi Award, 1982 and
Kalai Chemmal Award 1987; Commissioner for painting for the Brazil Triennale,
1988; Kalamamani Shiromani Award by Tamil Nadu Government 1996; and Kala
Ratna Award by All India Fine Arts & Crafts Society, 1997.