The exhibition brings together for the first time, works from two iconic collections in the city that were put together beginning from the early 1950s. Eleven of the fourteen works from the Jehangir Nicholson collection that reflect the collector’s great admiration for Gaitonde’s oeuvre and the TIFR collection that came into being through the great foresight of the institution’s founding director Dr. Homi Bhabha. The circle is complete with works from Pundole Art Gallery one of Mumbai’s first galleries that began a relationship with the artist from his earliest days as a painter...... a relationship that continued until his death in 2001.
V. S. Gaitonde was born in Nagpur, Maharashtra in 1924. He received a Diploma in Painting from the Sir J. J. School of Art in 1948. Impressed by his work, he was subsequently asked to join the Progressive Artists’ Group.
Although he was considered an abstract painter, he preferred calling his work “non-objective”, and believed that “there is no such thing as abstract art.” Gaitonde’s paintings, evocative of subliminal depths, are known for their spiritual quality and characteristic silence that is as meditative as it is eternal and momentous. The plain, large surfaces of layered paint possess an inherent quality of light. The textural structure along with the interplay of colour is the main aspect of his works. His compositions, inspired by zen philosophy reveals his speech and emotes silence. Art, for Gaitonde, was a process complete in itself. In exploring his inner spaces and transient realities, it helped him move towards himself. His paintings bring out fact that the process is the result. He worked with various mediums, and used a roller and palette knives to create his own layered texture. Over the years, he evolved as a painter who was increasingly more meticulous.
Gaitonde’s work has been exhibited at several exhibitions in India and abroad. In 2014-2015, the Solomon R Guggenheim Museum in New York organised a major retrospective of the artist’s works, titled V S Gaitonde: Painting as Process, Painting as Life.
Gaitonde was awarded the Padma Shri in 1971. He also won the first prize at the Young Asians Artists Association in Tokyo in 1957 and a Rockefeller fellowship in New York in 1964. He lived and worked in New Delhi, and passed away in 2001.