Dorrance Special Exhibition Galleries, first floor
This is the first exhibition to travel outside of Asia showcasing the exquisite and historically groundbreaking work of Nandalal Bose, a major artist who has been called the father of Indian modernism and one of the patriarchs of India's cultural revival. Organized by the San Diego Museum of Art in a historic collaboration with the government of India and the National Gallery of Modern Art in New Delhi, this exhibition includes more than one hundred of the artist's works. Philadelphia is the only East Coast venue for this major event. Rhythms of India explores the crucial period of India's transition from a British colony to an independent nation through the country's premier artist of the time. The works on view reveal the way Bose contributed to the development of a new Indian art and laid the foundation for modern visual culture in independent India, as well as illustrate how Bose contributed to the success of India's nonviolent struggle for independence through his association with Mahatma Gandhi. To place Nandalal Bose in his full historical context, this exhibition also includes a range of splendid works by other artists such as his teacher, Abanindranath Tagore, his students, and other contemporary artists whom he greatly inspired.
Rhythms of India: The Art of Nandalal Bose (1882-1966) is organized by the San Diego Museum of Art in collaboration with the National Gallery of Modern Art, New Delhi.
A gifted and lyrical draftsman, Bose was a highly creative and intellectual artist and teacher whose work never remained static. Throughout his long career he explored a variety of styles and diverse mediums that captured his poetic—almost religious—vision of nature.
Nandalal Bose was born in Bihar, India, in 1882. At the beginning of his career in 1905, he was one of many artists and visionaries who sought to revive the spirituality and cultural authenticity of Indian art after fifty years of colonial rule and westernization. In 1919, Bose became the first director of the art school at Visva-Bharati, the new university founded by Nobel Laureate Rabindranath Tagore in rural Bengal. Here, students learned both indigenous and modern international subjects in a traditional Indian teaching environment that was a radical departure from British-style education.
For the following three decades, Bose began to experiment with a variety of Indian, Japanese, and Chinese techniques. His work consisted of scenes of nature and tribal and village life, as well as devotional subjects. In the 1930s he became closely linked with Mahatma Gandhi, who saw in Nandalal's work a respect for the common man and the richness of India's traditions that reflected Gandhi's own ideals. Nandalal created the settings and artwork for some of Gandhi's most important political events, and created iconic images of the man himself. Such was Bose's stature that following independence in 1947, Nandalal was commissioned to illustrate the new Indian constitution.
The exhibition is made possible by the generosity of Roohi and Rajiv Savara, the Savara Art Foundation, Priya and Mukesh Assomull, the Arts and Culture Fund of The San Diego Foundation, and Gayatri and C.K. Prahalad.In Philadelphia, the exhibition is made possible by Reed Smith LLP and BNY Mellon. Major support is provided by a grant from the E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Foundation, with additional funding from The Pew Charitable Trusts, Rajiv and Kamla Gupta, Dr. David R. Nalin, Sundaram Tagore, and other generous donors.
Organizing Curator: Sonya Rhie Quintanilla • Curator, Asian Art, San Diego Museum of Art
Darielle Mason • The Stella Kramrisch Curator of Indian and Himalayan Art, Philadelphia Museum of Art