Triumph of Modernism: India's Artists and the Avant-Garde, 1922-1947

Overview

          The tumultuous last decades of British colonialism in India were catalyzed by more than the work of Mahatma Gandhi and violent conflicts. The concurrent upheavals in Western art driven by the advent of modernism provided Indian artists in post-1920 India a powerful tool of colonial resistance. Distinguished art historian Partha Mitter now explores in this brilliantly illustrated study this lesser known facet of Indian art and history.

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Triumph of Modernism

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Overview

          The tumultuous last decades of British colonialism in India were catalyzed by more than the work of Mahatma Gandhi and violent conflicts. The concurrent upheavals in Western art driven by the advent of modernism provided Indian artists in post-1920 India a powerful tool of colonial resistance. Distinguished art historian Partha Mitter now explores in this brilliantly illustrated study this lesser known facet of Indian art and history.

          Taking the 1922 Bauhaus exhibition in Calcutta as the debut of European modernism in India, The Triumph of Modernism probes the intricate interplay of Western modernism and Indian nationalism in the evolution of colonial-era Indian art. Mitter casts his gaze across a myriad of issues, including the emergence of a feminine voice in Indian art, the decline of “oriental art,” and the rise of naturalism and modernism in the 1920s. Nationalist politics also played a large role, from the struggle of artists in reconciling Indian nationalism with imperial patronage of the arts to the relationship between primitivism and modernism in Indian art.  An engagingly written study anchored by 150 lush reproductions, The Triumph of Modernism will be essential reading for scholars of art, British studies, and Indian history.

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Editorial Reviews

The Independent

"Lucid and well-illustrated."
Art AsiaPacific

"Mitter proceeds chronologically . . . filling
— Don J. Cohn

Art AsiaPacific - Don J. Cohn

"Mitter proceeds chronologically . . . filling the immensely readable pages with personality, place and incident--and with a remarkably low incident of art-speak and theory--giving the reader a sense of living through the 25 years as a member of this remarkable community."
The Independent

"Lucid and well-illustrated."—The Independent

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781861893185
  • Publisher: Reaktion Books, Limited
  • Publication date: 10/1/2007
  • Pages: 256
  • Product dimensions: 7.50 (w) x 9.75 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Partha Mitter is professor emeritus of art history at the University of Sussex and is also the author of several books, including Art and Nationalism in Colonial India, 1850–1922 and Indian Art.

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Table of Contents


Prologue
 
One
The Formalist Prelude
 
Two
The Indian Discourse of Primitivism
   I  Two Pioneering Women Artists
  II  Rabindranath Tagore's Vision of Art and the Community
 III  Jamini Roy and Art for the Community
 
Three
Naturalists in the Age of Modernism
   I  The Regional Expressions of Academic Naturalism
  II  From Orientalism to a New Naturalism: K. Venkatappa and Deviprosad Roy Chowdhury
 
Four
Contested Nationalism: The New Delhi and India House Murals
 
Epilogue
 
References
Bibliography
Acknowledgements
Photo Acknowledgements
Index
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