Bombay Progressive Artists' Group

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The Bombay Progressive Artists' Group, PAG, was the most influential group of modern artists in India from its formation in 1947, they combined Indian subject matter with Post-Impressionist colours, Cubist forms and brusque, Expressionistic styles.


The Progressive Artists' Group was formed by six founder members, F. N. Souza, S. H. Raza, M. F. Husain, K. H. Ara, H. A. Gade, and S. K. Bakre (the only sculptor in the group). Others associated with the group included Manishi Dey, Akbar Padamsee, Ram Kumar and Tyeb Mehta.[1]

The group wished to break with the revivalist nationalism established by the Bengal school of art and to encourage an Indian avant-garde, engaged at an international level. The Group was formed just months after the 14 August, 1947 "Partition of India" and Pakistan that resulted in religious rioting and death of tens of thousands of people displaced by the new borders. The founders of the Progressive Artists Group often cite "the partition" as impetus for their desire for new standards in India, starting with their new style of art.[2] Their intention was to "paint with absolute freedom for content and technique, almost anarchic, save that we are governed by one or two sound elemental and eternal laws, of aesthetic order, plastic co-ordination and colour composition."[3]

In 1950, Vasudeo S. Gaitonde, Krishen Khanna and Mohan Samant joined the Group, following the departure from India of the two main founders Souza and Raza. Bakre also left the group. The group disbanded in 1956.

European Modernism was the most distinctive influence on the group, but its members worked in dramatically different styles, from the Expressionism of Souza to the pure abstraction of Gaitonde. Specific Indian imagery and landscapes were also adopted, particularly by Mehta and Husain.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ National Gallery of Modern Art
  2. ^
  3. ^ Overview of India Art: Progressive Artists Group


  • Partha Mitter, Indian Art (Oxford History of Art), Oxford University Press (2001), ISBN 0-19-284221-8

External links[edit]