An insider's account of the birth of Modern Indian Art
The Role of the Critic   

Richard Bartholomew approached his task with a high degree of seriousness. His perception of the role of art critic is reflected in the two articles in this section.
Criticism in India, Cultural Forum, June 1959
Criticism and Contemporary Indian Painting parts I & II, Thought, June 15, 22, 1957

The Development of Indian Art   

Apart from the day to day task of reviewing exhibitions, Bartholomew occasionally cast an overall look on contemporary Indian art, analysing trends and charting developments in painting and sculpture. As is inevitable, a certain degree of repetition is present in these articles, but it serves to underscore the consistency of Bartholomew’s views and perceptions.

Indian Painting since 1947, Thought, August 13, 1955
Trends in Contemporary Indian Art, Views on Contemporary Art, 1957
Contemporary Indian Painting, Modern Art of Asia, Japanese Cultural Forum, 1961
The Visual Arts Mature, Times of India, August 15, 1972
Contemporary Indian Painting, 1973
Recent Trends in Graphics, Thought, January 26, 1974
Contemporary Painting and Sculpture, The Indian Experience, Festival of India, UK, 1982


An unusual, if not unique, aspect of Bartholomew’s criticism was his perception of affinities in outlook, attitude or technique between the works of individual artists. His examination of these similarities in small groups of painters is reproduced in this chapter.

Plastic Surgery and X-ray in Recent Indian Painting, Thought, August 24, 1964
Esoteric, Organic, Photographic and Picturesque, Thought, March 16, 1974
Light and Colour as Themes of Vision, Thought, April 13, 1974
Nature and Abstraction: An Enquiry into their Interaction, Lalit Kala Contemporary, No.23, 1977–78
Attitudes to the Social Condition: Notes on Ram Kumar, Satish Gujral, Krishen Khanna and A. Ramachandran, Lalit Kala Contemporary, No.24 and 25, 1978

Pen Portraits 

A close bond of friendship existed between Bartholomew and some of the leading painters of the day. This enabled him to provide intimate glimpses of their personalities, their methods of work, or their philosophy of art. The artists came to life in the pen portraits that follow.

The World of Sailoz Mookherjea, Thought, October 15, 1960
The Smile of the Mountains: Kanwal Krishna, Thought, January 1, 1960
Banker-Painter, The Statesman, September 11, 1957
Ram Kumar, Kunika, exhibition catalogue, November 1961
Biren De, Kunika, exhibition catalogue, November 1961
The Wall of Satish Gujral, Span, June 1961
The "Letters" of M.F. Husain, Thought Sept. 1971
M.F. Husain, (extract) Husain, Harry N.Abrams, New York, 1971

The Politics of Art 

Bartholomew took the Lalit Kala Akademi to task for its retrograde attitude toward the development of art and for its whimsical method of awarding prizes at its national exhibitions.

Art and the Akademi – I, Thought, February 22, 1958
Art and the Akademi – II, Thought, March 1, 1958
Art and the Akademi – III, Thought, March 8, 1958
Playing Possum in Art, The Statesman, February 1, 1959
The Art of the Akademi, Thought, February 21, 1959
Art in the Shadow of Official Patronage, Thought, March 21, 1959
A Short Biography of the Lalit Kala Akademi, Thought, November 21, 1959
If Gold Should Rust What Shall Iron Do?, Thought, August 3, 1974


Rabindranath Tagore, Amrita Sher-Gil, Jamini Roy.

The Beautiful Penumbra, Thought, January 1, 1966
Amrita Sher-Gil – Her Life and Paintings, Indian and Foreign Review, May 1, 1972
Jamini Roy and the Akademi, Thought, July 6, 1974

The Fifties 

The decade of the Fifties was a turbulent period in Indian art, highlighted by the boycott of the Lalit Kala’s National Exhibition in 1959 by 20 leading Indian artists. It was in the early fifties that Bartholomew started his career as art critic, a career which continued until the eighties. In this chapter reviews of group shows are reproduced first, followed by notices of one-man exhibitions.

The First National Exhibition of Art, Thought, April 9, 1955
Second National Exhibition of Art, Thought, January 28, 1956
Exhibition of Eight Painters, Thought, December 1, 1956
The Contemporary Indian Art Exhibition, Thought, December 6, 1956
Delhi Silpi Chakra: Tenth Annual Exhibition, Thought, March 29, 1958
Trends in Modern Indian Art, Design Magazine, February, 1959
Fifth All-India Sculpture Exhibition, Thought, May 23, 1959
Biren De: A Problem of Space and Colour
The Noble Savage and the Ascetic: The Paintings of Biren De, The Vak Review, Summer, 1958
The Paintings of Ram Kumar, Hindustan Times Weekly, October 23, 1955
Ram Kumar and the Theatre of the Mind, Thought, October 10, 1959
Forty Works by M.F. Husain, Thought, December 14, 1957
Recent Paintings by M.F. Husain, Thought, December 19, 1959
Paintings of Krishen Khanna, Thought, November 8, 1958
Satish Gujral:The Agony of Belief, Thought, January 7, 1956
Contemporary Indian Artists: Dhanraj Bhagat, Design Magazine, March 1959
"Composition 1957", Thought, September 28, 1957
The Human Form in Indian Sculpture, Thought, Spetember 5, 1959
The World of Laxman Pai, Thought, September 27, 1958
Paintings by S.H. Raza, Thought, May 16, 1959
Paintings and Sketches by K.G. Subramanian, Thought, April 23, 1955
Sculptures by Shanko Chaudhuri, Thought, December 29, 1956
Paintings That Depict the Indian Psyche, The Statesman, February 16, 1957
29 Paintings by H.A. Gade, Thought, February 1, 1958
Sculptures by C.P. Rajaram, Thought, January 3, 1959
Paintings by Anjolie Ela Dev, Thought, October 24, 1959
Paintings by Jaswant Singh, Thought, December 26, 1959
Paintings, Ceramics and Batik Work by Devayani Krishna, Thought, December 14, 1957
The Graphics of Kanwal Krishna, Thought, December 7, 1959

The Sixties 

The unrest that first surfaced in the previous decade continued through the sixties, with senior artists declining to participate in one or another of the National Exhibitions. The selection by the Lalit Kala of artists for their several awards also came in for severe criticism. A landmark event during this period was the holding in 1968 of the First Indian Trienale, which brought world art to the country for the first time.

Indian Triennale: First Impressions, Thought, February 24, 1968
Delhi Silpi Chakra Annual Exhibition, Thought, March 18, 1961
The Elusive Image: Delhi Silpi Chakra Annual, Thought, March 11, 1967
The Second Generation of Painters, Thought, April 2, 1960
The Dark is Light Enough, Thought, January 16, 1960
Exhibition: Satish Gujral's Paintings, Exhibition catalogue, Forum Gallery, New York, 1964
Impressions of Varanasi: Wax and Ink Paintings by Ram Kumar, Thought, May 7, 1960
A Question of Focus, Sunday Standard, January 1, 1961
Rare Clarity and Power Part of Husain Make-Up, Times of India, April 1, 1965
Drawing-room Decorations, Thought, October 23, 1965
Jeram Patel, Catalogue, 1963
Material and Medium, Thought, September 25, 1965
Eighteen Paintings by Biren De, Thought, December 9, 1961
Krishen Khanna, Roop Lekha, Vol.32, No.II, 1962
Fourteen Sumi-e-Paintings, by Krishen Khanna, Thought, December 4, 1965
Twelve Compositions with the Fifure by Tyeb Mehta, Thought, February 19, 1966
Mystery Minus Mystique: Sumi-e and Oils by Tyeb Mehta, Thought, March 25, 1967
The Works of Sailoz Mookherjea, Thought, November 19, 1960
Paintings by P.T. Reddy, Thought, September 24, 1960
Ready, Steady, Go, Thought, November 2, 1968
Shanti, Shanti, Shanti, Thought, April 16, 1966
Laxman Pai, Catalogue, Kunika, January, 1962
Pai, Purusha and Prakriti, Thought, November 12, 1966
Recent Paintings by K.S. Kulkarni, Thought, May 6, 1961
The Art of Polite Conversation, Thought, October 8, 1966
A Sculptor Dedicated to Nature, Catalogue, October 1, 1961
Vivid Metal and Wood Sculptures by Dhanraj Bhagat, Times of India, October 1, 1966
The Swaminathan Cycle, Thought, May 14, 1966
Kinetic, Not Psychic: First One-man show of Ramachandran's Paintings, Thought, December 24, 1966
The Human Puppet: A Note on Ramachandran's "Encounter" and Preliminary Sketches for the Easel Painting, Thought, May 13, 1967
Stripped Trees and Bird Catchers: 15 Paintings and 3 drawings by J. Sultan Ali, Thought, January 8, 1966
The Naked Truth: Paintings and Drawings by J. Sultan Ali, Thought, May 27, 1967
Sultan Ali, A Painstaking Painter, Times of India, February 23, 1969
Paintings by V.S. Gaitonde, Thought, November 26, 1960
Gulammohammed Sheikh, Exhibition catalogue, February, 1963
Painter Who Shocks People, Times of India, February 14, 1965
The Writing on the Wall, Thought, March 5, 1966
In Search of the Secret Life: 15 Paintings by G.R. Santosh, Thought, January 29 1966
The Bird in Hand, Thought, March 19, 1966
The Map or the Diagram: 22 Paintings by Himmat Shah, Thought, March 26, 1966
Spectacle of Sex in Sundaram's Paintings, Times of India, March 30, 1966
No Man is an Island, Thought, April 23, 1966
Artist 'Earnest' but Art 'Bore', Indian Express, January 7, 1962
Magic Lantern Show, Thought, December 17, 1966
Admirable Oils by Paramjit. Times of India, December 21, 1967
Pilgrim's Progress: Retrospective Exhibition of the Paintings of K.K. Hebbar, Thought, November 23, 1968
Padamsee's Paintings are Drawings in Colour, Times of India, March 8, 1969
Impressive Display of Benode Bihari's Works, Times of India, March 14, 1969
Paintings and Sketches by Jaya Appasamy, Thought, March 19, 1960
Subtracting from Nature, Thought, November 25, 1967
Lush, Variegated Textures, Times of India, March, 1966
Matbar Singh, Exhibition catalogue, 1963
Group Show of Graphic Art: Kunika Group Show of Works by Tyeb Mehta, Husain, Gaitonde, Ram Kumar, Kanwal, Devayani Krishna and others, Exhibition catalogue, December, 1961
The Krishnas: Kanwal and Devayani, Exhibition catalogue, January, 1960
From Lovers and Cacti to Allah: Recent Graphics by Devayani Krishna, Thought, September 23, 1967
Variations in Imagery, Thought, October 7, 1967
Telescoping Time, Thought, January 27, 1968
Talented by Tame, Thought, August 19, 1967
Interesting Intaglio Prints on View, Times of India, January 18, 1969
Graphic Show by Alkazis of a High Standard, Times of India, March, 1964
Lithographs by Maganbhai Soma and Nakli Ram, Exhibition catalogue, March, 1965
Splendid Show by Group 8, Times of India, September 25, 1969
Between Quality and Quantity Photographs by T.S. Satyan, Sunil Janah, Thought, December 25, 1965
Personal Photography: "Life in Germany": A Photo Essay by T.S. Satyan, and documentary prints from the Federal Republic of Germany, Thought, October 29, 1966
Seventh Members' Photographic Exhibition, Thought, April 23, 1960

The Seventies 

Rise of the Private Image, Sunday Standard, January 25, 1970
National Art Exhibition Opened, Times of India, October 17, 1976
Third Triennale: Some Plain Speaking, Times of India, February 16, 1975
'The Rejects' Win First Round at Silpi Chakra, Times of India, February 22, 1972
Interesting Canvases on Show, Times of India, November 13, 1972
Souza's Drawings on Display, Times of India, November 29, 1972
Interesting Exhibition of Art by Group, Times of India, March 12, 1974
Young Painters Shine Among Contemporaries, Times of India, March 16, 1972
Massive Art Show for Serving a Cause, Times of India, February 17, 1977
Calcutta Artists Have Surrealist Approach, Times of India, October 15, 1972
Manifestations of Group Spirit, Thought, October 26, 1974
Mixed Group of Bengal Artists, Times of India, April 6, 1976
Kerala Artists Rooted in Myth, Folklore, Times of India, October 18, 1975
The Gujral Artefact, Thought, January 5, 1974
A Painter for All Seasons, Times of India, September 29, 1975
Ram Kumar '73, Exhibition catalogue, December 22, 1972
The Abstract Principles in the Paintings of Ram Kumar, Lalit Kala Contemporary Nos. 19 & 22, 1975–76
Ram Kumar's Hallmark of Maturity, Times of India, December 10, 1977
Souza's Shock Treatment, Times of India, February 3, 1973
Presence of Time Evident in Souza Work, Times of India, February 3, 1976
Santosh's Serious Essays in Paint, Times of India, March 31, 1970
Esoteric Principle in Painting, Times of India, November 28, 1973
Vision Still Evident in Santosh's Paintings, Times of India, March 23, 1976
The Lone Wolf: Recent Paintings by Jeram Patel, Thought, January 24, 1970
Jeram Patel, Catalogue XIV, Sao Paulo Biennale, 1977
Krishen's Paintings are Strong and Direct, Times of India, January 9, 1972
Common Objects Presented in Unusual Way, Times of India, February 26, 1975
Khakkar's One-man Show of Paintings, Times of India, February 22, 1970
Bhupen Khakkar's 26 watercolours, Times of India, October 26, 1976
Laxman Pai, Times of India, October 28, 1975
Expressive Paintings by Laxman, Times of India, November 19, 1976
Spectacular Paintings by Ramachandran, Times of India, December 9, 1977
V. Sundaram: A Lyrical Painter, Times of India, September 28, 1972
On Grafitti, Spaghetti and Social Comment, Times of Imdia, March 20, 1976
Elements of Surprise in Paramjit's Paintings, Times of India, April 13, 1975
To Care and Not To Care for Shanti, Thought, April 27, 1974
Nasreen's Works: Deft and Delicate, Times of India, April 8, 1972
Nasreen's Drawings Have Colour and Rhythm, Times of India, February 11, 1976
Consistent Approach in Sanyal's Paintings, Times of India, December 12, 1975
Ambadas: A Mature, Sensitive Painter, Times of India, January 8, 1970
Tyeb's Paintings of Unfinished Character, Times of India, February 13, 1972
Swami's Paintings Overdramatic, Times of India, February 24, 1973
Arpita Singh's Visual Metaphors are Good, Times of India, April 22, 1972 Anjolie's Figures Are Poetic, Times of India, November 28, 1972
Sensitivity is Sabavala's Forte, Times of India, December 1, 1972
Jehangir Sabavala: Painter of People, Times of India, April 19, 1976
Fine Constructions in Plaster, Times of India, March 28, 1973
Intelligent Use of Colours by De, Times of India, February 17, 1974
Discreet Use of Colour by Manu Parekh, TImes of India, March 27, 1974
Jatin's Works Impressive, Times of India, October 31, 1974
Warmly Abstract Paintings by Viswanadhan, Times of India, December 24, 1974
Excellent Paintings, Metal Reliefs by Vasudev, Times of India, December 27, 1975
Arnawaz's Paintings Have Element of Cogency, Times of India, December 1, 1975
Fine Workmanship in Nayar's Art, Times of India, February 1, 1976
Refreshing Pencil Drawings of Laxma Goud, Times of India, April 11, 1976
Saroj Pal Gogi, Exhibition catalogue, 1979 – 80
Surrealist Keen on Musical Analogies, Times of India, November 18, 1972
Works of Personal Expressionsm, Times of India, March 6, 1972
Decorative Paintings by Dhiraj Choudhury, Times of India, January 17, 1976
Red Key Colour in Mohanti's Paintings, Times of India, February 22, 1977
Ram Kinkar's Watercolours Show Variegated Vastness, Times of India, September 26, 1976
Subramanyan's Terracottas on Show, Times of India, January 31, 1972
Grace Abounding: Recent Sculptures by Chintamoni Kar, Thought, January 10, 1970
Sculptures With Core of Stillness, Times of India, February 3, 1972
Dynamic Sculpture by Meera, Times of India, January 23, 1970
Sehgal's True Self Yet to Find Expression, Times of India, November 17, 1972
Krishna Reddy, Monograph, 1974
Kanwal Krishna, Monograph, 1976
Senior Service: Recent Graphics by Devayani Krishna, Thought, January 31, 1970
Devayani Krishna, Monograph, 1976
Variegated Show of Bright, Grey Prints, Times of India, June 10, 1970
Neat Exhibition of Prints by Group 8, Times of India, January 3, 1973
Prints with Brilliance of Paintings, Times of India, February 5, 1976
Very Fine Show by Group 8, Times of India, December 14, 1976
Bonanza for Art Buyers At Graphic Workshop, Times of India, March 20, 1974
Print-making Workshop Shows Good Results, Times of India, February 16