Show on artist M.V. Dhurandhar to revive his legacy

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Mumbai, Sep 6 (IANS) Archives and paintings of late 19th century Marathi artist M. V. Dhurandhar will be on view at the National Gallery of Modern Art (NGMA) here from next week in an effort to resurrect his artistic legacy.

Part of the retrospective exhibition “M. V. Dhurandhar: The Romantic Realist”, the paintings and archives will throw light on the life and works of Dhurandhar (1867-1944).

An academic realist, he has painted women profusely, with his illustrations of Indian women featuring in author Otto Rothfeld’s book “Women of India” (1920).

The master artist’s works covered most genres of realistic art — portraits, landscapes, episodes from history and mythology, as well as mappings of social life, rendered by way of oil paintings, watercolours, drawings, sketches, posters, postcards, book covers, illustrations, and oleographs.

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His poster illustration for Woodward’s Gripe Water for toddlers, featuring young Krishna, in fact, is one of his most popular illustrations in public memory.

Just as the realism of the Kolhapur-born Dhurandhar, and his contemporaries like Raja Ravi Varma, was threatened by the fast-changing aesthetic, his legacy was slowly “overtaken by the artists of the Progressive Artists’ Group” of Mumbai, NGMA said in a statement.

“Even though several of his most popular paintings were rendered as lithographs and oleographs, Dhurandhar’s contribution to the Bombay School of Art has been forgotten and is in need of resurrection,” it added.

According to NGMA, on view will be a collated collection of Dhurandhar’s paintings.

Most have been sourced from government museums in Kolhapur, Aundh, and Sangli, the collection at Sir J. J. School of Art, and Swaraj Art Archive, among other private galleries.

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Also exhibited as a visual resource is rare archival material including “his gold medals, the sketchbooks that he sketched in, book illustrations, photographs and other ephemera”.

This retrospective will go a long way in restoring his legacy, NGMA said.

The month-long exhibition will open on September 10 for the public, and conclude on October 13.



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