NS Bendre
Drawings, Sketches, Watercolours
13th November to 12th December, 2021

I belong to this earth. I walk on this earth. I eat on this earth, and I don't think of anything but this earth. Things here are like a library to me.
-NS Bendre, My Painting 

NS Bendre: Drawings, Sketches, Watercolours brings together some forty rarely shown works on paper from across the artist's career, revealing the intimate bonding he felt with the world. From the beginning of his long and astonishingly prolific career, Bendre explored the earth, travelling widely and producing a large body of drawings, sketches, and watercolours of the sites, landscapes and people that make up a significant part of his oeuvre. Much of his unique sensibility, the vernacular charms in colouration and depiction of human figures in his mature work, was shaped by his rich travel experiences and lifelong habit of drawing from observation.

Born in Indore, the capital of princely Indore State, Narayan Shridhar Bendre (1910-1992) studied painting in the State School of Art, excelling in academic realism. A steady winner of medals in the Bombay Art Society's Annual Exhibitions, an outstanding event in those days, he was admired for his skills in academic style and the chromatic brilliance of watercolours. However, the growing popularity of Amrita Sher-Gil and his first-hand acquaintance with the art world of the West in the 1940s had a profound impact on him, encouraging him to adapt to the new languages of modern art, moving away from academic realism.



Bendre's oeuvre spans widely between abstraction and figurative art, revealing his transformative modern vision. A significant change took place between his early and mature paintings. However, in drawing and sketches, he maintained persistence and continuity of realistic style throughout his career, like those on display. For Bendre, it seems, drawing, often associated with travelling, is a private, intimate practice, a kind of ritualistic pleasure he enjoyed. Resisting the impulse of modernism, he used it to get closer to the object, exploring the magic of mimesis, the sense that the picture has an organic bond with what it is a picture of. According to John Berger, this corporeality, which only drawing and no other art mediums can have, breathes life to Bendre's numerous study works and sketches of village women and rural scenes, a glimpse of which the show offers to us.

BIOGRAPHY: 

Born in 1910 in Indore, the capital of princely Indore State, India, NS Bendre has been widely recognized as one of the pioneers of modern Indian Art. He studied painting at the State Art School, Indore, graduating in 1934.  His work has been presented in major galleries and art institutions in India and abroad. In 1992, the year he passed away, Vadehra Art Gallery organized Professor NS Shridhar Bendre: Drawings and Paintings. Another large show in Mumbai was NS Bendre: the Exhibition of Sketches, organized by Jehangir Art Gallery in 2000. In addition, his work was the subject of several solo exhibitions in Mumbai, Baroda, Delhi and other Indian and international cities. He held his first solo show abroad at Windermere Art Gallery, New York, in 1946.
A steady winner of medals in the Bombay Art Society’s Annual Exhibitions in the 1930s and 40s,  NS Bendre received many acknowledgements, including Kalidas Samman (1984), Gagan-Abani Award (1982, 84), and Padma Shri (1969) and Padma Bhushan (1992) from the Government of India.


Artists


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Narayan Shridhar Bendre

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Narayan Shridhar Bendre

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Narayan Shridhar Bendre

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Narayan Shridhar Bendre

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Narayan Shridhar Bendre

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Narayan Shridhar Bendre

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Narayan Shridhar Bendre

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Narayan Shridhar Bendre

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Narayan Shridhar Bendre

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Narayan Shridhar Bendre

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Narayan Shridhar Bendre

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Narayan Shridhar Bendre

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Narayan Shridhar Bendre

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Narayan Shridhar Bendre

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Narayan Shridhar Bendre

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Narayan Shridhar Bendre

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Narayan Shridhar Bendre

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Narayan Shridhar Bendre

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Narayan Shridhar Bendre

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Narayan Shridhar Bendre

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Narayan Shridhar Bendre

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Narayan Shridhar Bendre

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Narayan Shridhar Bendre

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Narayan Shridhar Bendre

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Narayan Shridhar Bendre

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Narayan Shridhar Bendre

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Narayan Shridhar Bendre

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Narayan Shridhar Bendre

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Narayan Shridhar Bendre

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Narayan Shridhar Bendre

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Narayan Shridhar Bendre

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Narayan Shridhar Bendre

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Narayan Shridhar Bendre

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Narayan Shridhar Bendre

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Narayan Shridhar Bendre

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