Between the 50s and the early 80s Richard Bartholomew wrote relentlessly about art. He challenged institutions like the Lalit Kala Akademi and the NGMA with his provocative questions about the role of the state in promoting art; he visited artists' studios, befriended them, and advocated, on their behalf, the need for an aesthetic language that could reflect the modern Indian condition; he curated some of the most prominent shows of art in India and abroad, and, in his capacity as director of Kunika Chemould, the country's first commercial gallery, nurtured some of the finest Indian artists.
As a critic for the Indian Express, Times of India, and Thought magazine, Richard was privy to some of definitive moments in the history of Modern Indian art. Seen in retrospect, his massive body of writing on art is prophetic as it harks back to an era when Indian painters such as S.H. Raza, M.F. Husain, Tyeb Mehta, F.N. Souza, Ram Kumar, and others who were still struggling to break free from the tired, overused idiom of the Bengal school and work within a more nuanced understanding of what constitutes the modern aesthetic; a time when paintings were sold for "the price of a bottle of whiskey or a cotton sari" as Richard recorded in one of his pieces.
Abridged from the original, this selected collection offers the contemporary reader a flavour of that birthing period in the history of Modern Indian art in a voice that is authoritative yet accessible, while establishing a standard for critical art writing. Over 10 years in the making, it is both a tribute and a testimony to Richard's overwhelming, though unacknowledged, contribution to the evolution of Modern Indian art and the development of art criticism in India.
The book launch would be in the presence of S.H. Raza, Ram Kumar, Krishen Khanna, A. Ramachandran and Satish Gujral.