V. S. Gaitonde: Painting as Process, Painting as Life
Curated by Sandhini Poddar, Adjunct Curator, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum with Amara Antilla, Assistant Curator, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum
Comprising over 40 paintings and works on paper drawn from over 30 leading public institutions and private collections across Asia, Europe, and the United States, this is the first retrospective exhibition dedicated to the work of the Indian painter Vasudeo Santu Gaitonde (1924–2001). With an unparalleled career in the history of South Asian modern art, Gaitonde was an influential colorist, known to fellow artists and intellectuals, as well as to later generations of students and admirers, as a man of uncompromising artistic integrity of spirit and purpose. The exhibition, firstly presented at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York, and now at the Peggy Guggenheim Collection in Venice, introduces the public to this solitary genius who developed his own nonobjective style, employing palette knives, paint rollers and a “lift-off” technique. The exhibition reveals Gaitonde’s extraordinary use of color, form and texture in creating works that glow with an inner light. For Gaitonde, painting, life and the creative process were all one and the same.
A seminal colorist whose career remains unparalleled in the history of South Asian modern art, V. S. Gaitonde (1924–2001) was known to fellow artists and intellectuals as well as to later generations of students and collectors as a man of uncompromising integrity of spirit and purpose. Accompanying landmark exhibitions at the Peggy Guggenheim Collection, Venice, this book of important paintings and works on paper explores the context of Indian modern art as it played out in the metropolitan centers of Mumbai and New Delhi from the late 1940s through the end of the twentieth century. It also introduces readers to a reclusive genius who developed a unique nonobjective style that employed palette knives, paint rollers, and a special “lift-off” technique. The exquisite reproductions reveal Gaitonde’s extraordinary use of color, form, and texture to create works of art that seem to glow with an inner light. A comprehensive essay examines Gaitonde’s lifelong study of Zen Buddhism and various Indian philosophical systems, and relates his nuanced understanding of color to major American, European, and Asian traditions and movements. It also analyzes the artist’s use of the term “nonobjective” within its historical context, and provides valuable insights into Gaitonde’s life and work in the milieu of Indian modernism. For Gaitonde, painting, life, and the creative process were one.
The Leadership Committee for the exhibition is gratefully acknowledged for its generosity and support, with special thanks to E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Foundation , Shanthi Kandiah and Brahmal Vasudevan, Smita and Ramesh Prabhakar, Suchi Reddy, Kelly and Sundaram Tagore, Sanjit and Sangeeta Talukdar, and Princess Shamina Talyarkhan.
V. S. Gaitonde: Painting as Process, Painting as Life is supported by Intrapresae Collezione Guggenheim, by Private Bank BSI, by Enel and by Regione del Veneto. In collaboration with Corriere della Sera, Hangar Design Group designed the exhibition’s communication materials. The exhibitions of the Peggy Guggenheim Collection are made possible thanks to the support of its Advisory Board and Intrapresae Collezione Guggenheim.