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Arts Culture Vasudeo Santu Gaitonde: The Late Indian Modernist That Made A Mark In History

Vasudeo Santu Gaitonde: The Late Indian Modernist That Made A Mark In History

Vasudeo Santu Gaitonde: The Late Indian Modernist That Made A Mark In History
Photo: Ekrulila from Pexels
By Christine Andas
By Christine Andas
October 30, 2020
Read on to learn about the late Indian Modernist artist V.S. Gaitonde who had left a lasting legacy

In September 2020, an unprecedented victory for Indian art had occurred within the walls of Pundole, an auction house in Mumbai. The late Indian Modernist Vasudeo Santu Gaitonde's oil painting, Untitled (1974), had been sold at an auction for 4.5 million dollars, surpassing his previous record. The painting comes from the collection of Masanori Fukuoka, owner of Glenbarra Museum in Japan.

Read more: Indian painting sells for record $4.4 mn at Christie's auction

Untitled (1974) by V.S. Gaitonde
Untitled (1974) by V.S. Gaitonde

Gaitonde's Untitled (1974) painting exhibits geometrical lines that overlay bands of a diaphanous gradient of colours. Consequently, his discovery and fascination for Zen Buddhism and other Eastern philosophies, calligraphy, and synthetic cubism reflect his works of abstraction.

Photo: Financial Times
Photo: Financial Times

To produce such a refined and subtle painting, Gaitonde followed an arduous yet significant technique that evinces the importance of colour in his works; using a roller rather than a paintbrush, Gaitonde paints white over the surface of a canvas and leaves it to dry. Once the layers of paint have desiccated, he then marries the colours he's chosen for the artwork. Then, he uses a palette knife to carefully scrape it off certain areas.

Untitled (1995) by V.S. Gaitonde
Untitled (1995) by V.S. Gaitonde

Among Gaitonde's several inspirations, his artistry developed at an early time when he would gaze at the ocean in solitude. He would sit in silence on an old bench within the premises of the Bullabai Memorial Design Institute. 

Photo: Business Standard
Photo: Business Standard

As opposed to Gaitonde's recent artworks, his earliest paintings were figurative rather than works of abstraction. After all, most Indian artists were initially adept to creating Figurative art which stems from traditional South-East Asian art forms — the reason being British art has greatly influenced India at the time. These paintings often display vivid colours and Hindu characters.

Eventually, most Indian artists had veered towards abstraction. Gaitonde had done the same — and had created one that made a mark in Indian art history.

Read more: Magritte Painting To Fetch £9.5 Million At Auction
 

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