Guggenheim presents first exhibition of Indian modern painter Vasudeo Santu Gaitonde
June 16, 2014: The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum is presenting the first museum exhibition dedicated to the work of celebrated Indian modern painter Vasudeo Santu Gaitonde (1924–2001), with ‘V. S. Gaitonde: Painting as Process, Painting as Life’, from October 24, 2014, to February 11, 2015. The retrospective will comprise 45 major paintings and works on paper drawn from thirty leading public institutions and private collections across Asia, Europe, and the United States, forming the most comprehensive overview of Gaitonde’s work to date.
Featuring many works that have never been seen by the public, the exhibition will reveal Gaitonde’s extraordinary use of colour, form, and texture, as well as symbolic elements and calligraphy, in works that seem to glow with an inner light. The exhibition is organized by Sandhini Poddar, Adjunct Curator, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, with Amara Antilla, Curatorial Assistant, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum. This exhibition is supported in part by Christie’s.
The exhibition will draw an arc from Gaitonde’s early, figurative, mixed-medium works and watercolors inspired by Paul Klee (1879–1940), through his major bodies of paintings from the 1960s and 70s during which time he developed his signature oil works on canvas, to his late works from the 1980s and 90s. Gaitonde began participating in solo and group exhibitions across India and abroad in the mid-1950s. Departing from Klee’s agile lines, lyrical colours, and fantastical symbolist imagery, the artist began working in the late 1950s in a nonrepresentational mode, or, as he preferred to call it, a nonobjective style. This turn towards abstraction coincides with Gaitonde’s lifelong interest in Zen Buddhism, and is in accordance with the philosophy first espoused by Vasily Kandinsky (1866–1944), as is embodied by the Guggenheim Museum’s origins as the Museum of Non-Objective Painting.
A range of public programs, including screenings of the film V.S. Gaitonde by Sunil Kaldate and exhibition tours, will be offered in conjunction with the exhibition. After the presentation at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York, the exhibition will travel to the Peggy Guggenheim Collection in Venice in fall 2015.