H. A. Gade
One of the post-independence India’s significant abstract expressionist painters, Hari Ambadas Gade was also among founders of the Progressive Art movement. He opted for an unconventional style, and rebelled against the set norms of academic art, imposed by the British education system, as most PAG members did at that time.
Born in Amravati in the state of Maharashtra in 1916, he did his graduation (science), though he was fond of drawing since childhood. He came in touch with SH Raza, who provided him with precious inputs. The talented artist started off by primarily painting watercolors. However, he gradually switched to painting oils on canvas. Gade made use of the palette knife as well as brush to finish his paintings.
Gade had his exhibition in Mumbai in 1947, and a year later at the annual Bombay Art Society show. He was invited for a show in Paris, and at Stanford University in 1949. His works were exhibited at the prestigious Venice Biennale in 1954. As several art critics have rightly pointed out, his art practice stands on a solid intellectual platform and his works reflect a unique streak, wherein color is of great importance, and form happens to be only incidental.
The young artist, who first painted some beautiful landscapes, was affected and touched by the slum life that he witnessed across the city of Mumbai and the poverty therein. The abject living conditions, dirty slums and poverty often cropped up in his paintings. However, Gade did not really abandon his passion for landscapes. He would travel quite frequently, traversing the deserts and palaces of Udaipur, Kerala’s lush greenery, and the dense forests elsewhere.
His landscapes are a treasure to behold. He also did an exquisite series on monsoon greens. Hari Ambadas Gade passed away in 2001. ;