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20th Century Indian Art

Modern, Post-Independence, Contemporary

Partha Mitter, Parul Dave Mukherji, Rakhee Balaram

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A landmark volume presenting the history of Indian art across the subcontinent and South Asia from the late 19th century to the present day, published in association with Art Alive

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Recent decades have seen significant growth in the interest, acquisition and exhibition of modern Indian and South Asian art and artists by major international museums. This essential textbook, primarily aimed at students, presents an engaging, informative history of modern art from the subcontinent as seen through the eyes of prominent Indian academics.

Illustrated throughout with strong narrative content, key experts contribute multiple perspectives on modernism, modernity and plurality, and expansive ideas about contemporary art practices. A range of subjects and topics feature including Group 1890, the Madras Art Movement, Regional Modern and Dalit art, as well as artists such as Amrita Sher-Gil and Raqs Media Collective. This book also has sections devoted to the art of Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh and other parts of South Asia.

Together with lively academic discussions and a selection of absorbing interviews with artists, this title meets a clear demand for a comprehensive and authoritative sourcebook on modern, postmodern and contemporary Indian art. It is the definitive reference for anyone with an interest in Indian art and non-Western art histories.

Published in association with Art Alive


'A pioneering work of art-historical scholarship illuminated by revisionary contemporary critical and cultural frameworks ... a landmark cosmopolitan contribution to the profound spirit of intellectual inquiry and aesthetic hospitality that have, through the centuries, inspired the arts of India'
Homi K. Bhabha, Anne F. Rothenberg Professor of the Humanities, Harvard University

'This wide-ranging, 750-page monument to the last century of art across South Asia puts its many movements and artists into authoritative context'
The New York Times Book Review

'Indian art has found an immensely impressive range of historians and commentators, and a global context, in this enormous, significant scholarly landmark. Micro stories and the big picture, peripheries and the centre, colonial and postcolonial assumptions, modernism’s freedoms and constraints: every tightrope is walked with balance and insight'
Financial Times

'At long last, Indian art from the long 20th century gets the forensic treatment'
The Art Newspaper

'A landmark publication … It would make an important addition to the shelves of any art lover’s personal library'
Art Society Review

'Sumptuously produced … [an] essential critical compendium'
India Today

'A must read for art students, scholars, collectors and enthusiasts alike. Some of the most interesting chapters are on figures who have slipped out of the pages of mainstream art history'

'An expansive and scholarly work explores the many artists, ideas, philosophies and the often turbulent social and political upheavals that have fed into 100 years of art in India'
Hettie Judah, Art Quarterly

'A sea of riches … an irreplaceable resource … The more one tries to lasso the book and pull it closer for a comprehensive comment, the more it slips away into nooks and crannies of Indian art-making that are riveting. [Ultimately] it drives home the task it surely set itself: to entice, to reveal, to mystify, to clarify, to tantalise, to confuse, to provoke, to pacify, to anger, even, as much to delight ... enacting the range of the art it captures, in as many compelling ways'
The Telegraph India

'For range and depth, a landmark in Indian art history. It pulls the marginal towards the centre yet keeps the big picture in view, rethinks modernism’s freedoms and troubles in a broadened global context and negotiates colonial and postcolonial assumptions with nuanced understanding'
Financial Times

'20th Century Indian Art illustrates styles of art and craft in India that are complex and deeply enmeshed with geopolitics, identity, nationhood, post-colonial sensibilities, and creative subjectivities. At every page, readers enjoy pleasant visuals and sound research in this highly instructive sourcebook, urging us to broaden our minds as we critically approach these unique strands of Indian art history'

'A lively introduction to a complex topic, accessible to the general reader and filled with information and analysis, clearly the product of a great deal of scholarly erudition. All of that is true, but none of it conveys the accomplishment of this book in advancing the agenda of so-called global art history. What 20th Century Indian Art makes abundantly clear is the urgency of pushing art history more radically and profoundly towards the study of transculturation'
The Journal of Art Historiography

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Product Information

Book Details

Format: Hardback

Size: 30.8 x 24.0 cm

Extent: 744 pp

Illustrations: 621

Publication date: 14 April 2022

ISBN: 9780500023327

Contents List


Section I
Colonial Modernity, Art And National Identity

Section II
Post Colonial Decades in Visual arts practices

Section III
Nationalism after Globalization: Art in India in the 1990s-2000s

Mapping Several Regional Modernisms in South Asia

About the Author

Partha Mitter is Emeritus Professor of Art History, University of Sussex. His books include Much Maligned Monsters: History of European Reactions to Indian Art, Art and Nationalism in Colonial India 1850–1922, Indian Art and The Triumph of Modernism: India’s Artists and the Avant-Garde 1922–1947. Parul Dave Mukherji is Professor and former Dean at the School of Arts and Aesthetics, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, India. She holds a PhD from Oxford University. Her recent publications include InFlux: Contemporary Art in Asia (which she co-edited) and the ASA volume, Arts and Aesthetics in a Globalizing World, co-edited with Ramindar Kaur. Rakhee Balaram is Assistant Professor of Global Modern and Contemporary Art and Art History at University at Albany, State University of New York. She has previously taught at the School of Arts and Aesthetics, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. She holds double doctorates in the field of French Literature and Art History from Cambridge University and the Courtauld Institute of Art.