The Awakening of Indian Art

2024-04-21 21:35:58

Reema Desai Gehi

The Awakening of Indian Art


March 7, 2024    
6:00 pm - 7:00 pm


Bookings closed


Mazumdar-Shaw auditorium
22, Kasturba Rd, Shanthala Nagar, Ashok Nagar , Bengaluru, Karnataka, 560001
Map Unavailable

Rudi von Leyden  along with members of the Progressive Artists’ Group. Courtesy of Reema Desai Gehi. 

What influences have shaped modern Indian art? Much has been written about artists such as M.F. Husain, K.H. Ara, F.N. Souza, V.S. Gaitonde and S.H. Raza, who have dominated the Indian art scene, but little is known about Rudolf von Leyden, an influential figure in their artistic lives.

Join us for the book launch of The Catalyst: Rudolf von Leyden and India’s Artistic Awakening, a multi-layered narrative that pieces together extensive interviews and archival material, providing a ringside view into developments from a time that forever changed the course of Indian art. Through the narrative, author Reema Desai Gehi paints a vivid portrait of a man whose legacy continues to inspire.

In the vibrant world of post-independence Bombay, a German art critic named Rudolf von Leyden, or Rudi, played a pivotal yet overlooked role in the formation of the Bombay Progressive Artists’ Group. Arriving in India as a refugee, Rudi soon became a tireless champion of India’s emerging avant-garde painters. Rudi encouraged the raw talent and electrifying experiments of the Progressive painters, and fostered patronage for talents like K.H. Ara. As an art critic with The Times, his words provided a perspective that put an artist’s métier into context. He was a friend, mentor and guide to the artists; the audacious pioneers who rebelled against academic styles to forge a bold, new artistic vision for a nation reborn and his vision helped establish seminal Indian art institutions.

The Catalyst: Rudolf von Leyden and India’s Artistic Awakening has been supported by The Raza Foundation and the German Federal Foreign Office and is published by Speaking Tiger Books.


Bookings are closed for this event.

Reema Desai Gehi

Arts Writer, Researcher and Cultural Facilitator

Reema Desai (née Gehi) is an arts writer, researcher and cultural facilitator residing in Mumbai, India. For over a decade, Reema has extensively written on the arts, theatre and culture scene with the Times Group publication, Mumbai Mirror, India Today and Hindustan Times.

She also comes with a rich experience of working in various capacities within cultural spaces and theatre groups in India as well as the UK.

An alumna of Cardiff University, UK, where Reema completed her masters’ degree with a special focus on arts journalism, she is currently editing an upcoming book on art writings, soon- to-be published by the Times of India and Pundoles’.

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