M.V. Dhurandhar: An Unexplored History


Mr. Suhas Bahulkar, Dr. Shukla Sawant, Dr. Manisha Patil and Mr. Abhay Sardesai

MUMBAI, October 12, 2018: Asia Society India Centre hosted a special curator’s walkthrough of M.V. Dhurandhar: The Romantic Realist – a retrospective exhibition at the National Gallery of Modern Art, Mumbai, followed by a discussion on the unexplored history of the artist, with Mr. Suhas Bahulkar, Artist and Curator; Dr. Manisha Patil, Professor of Art History at Sir. J. J. School of Art and Dr. Shukla Sawant, Professor of Visual Studies, School of Arts and Aesthetics, Jawaharlal Nehru University and Mr. Abhay Sardesai, Editor, ART India.. 

Mr. Sardesai set the tone for the conversation with a historical overview of the era. He discussed the significance of Dhurandhar’s work in context to the rising nationalist art movement in Bengal, its role in the development of the Progressive Artists Group in Bombay and eventually Modern Art in India. 

Dhurandhar had a long and illustrious career, taking on several commissions on a variety of subjects. Dr. Patil shared insights on his patrons, many of whom were British, and supported his work through his career. Dr. Patil also spoke on the aesthetic qualities and limitations of Dhurandhar’s work. She noted his preference for watercolour and gouache over oil painting, and his comfort in creating smaller work on paper as opposed to working on large canvases where his proportions and perspective often fell short.

Mr. Sardesai posed a question on whether Dhurandhar could be considered a monarchist, to which Mr. Bahulkar responded by elucidating on Dhurandhar’s experiences as a student at the Sir J.J. School of Art, training under John Griffiths, which was probably why he was considered an obedient server of the Raj. Dr. Sawant disagreed by noting that even though much of Dhurandhar’s work was commissioned by the British, writing his autobiography in Marathi was one of his many subversive acts to resist the British government.

Watch the programme here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=18m0CmNEmis&t=2s

As reported by Swati Gopalkrishnan, Programme Development Intern, Asia Society India Centre.

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