Exposition Art Blog: Mohan Samant

Mohan Samant

Mohan Samant (born Manmohan Balkrishna Samant in Mumbai in 1924 - New York City, 2004) was an early Indian modernist painter and member of the Progressive Artists Group. He was also a lifelong player of the sarangi, an Indian bowed string instrument.Samant was born Manmohan Balkrishna Samant into a middle-class Brahmin family in Goregaon, a suburb of Mumbai (then Bombay), India, in 1924. The fourth child of eight, he grew up in a cultured environment. Samant’s father, Balkrishna Ramchandra Samant, was a headmaster and his mother a homemaker. His younger sister, Vasudha Patil, an accomplished novelist, has written that their parents encouraged the family’s interest in music, art, theater, movies, travel, and writing, and Samant displayed an early proficiency in and dedication to both music and the visual arts

Samant participated in the seminal international exhibitions of twentieth-century Indian modernism. Ranjit Hoskote, internationally renowned Indian poet and art critic, wrote in 2008 that Mohan Samant was “the missing link in the evolutionary narrative of contemporary art in India.” As observed by Jeffrey Wechsler in his essay on Mohan Samant and his place in twentieth-century modernism, “Samant’s practice was the antithesis of a signature style. Throughout his career, he delved into divergent materials and techniques and constantly shifted imagery. While some of his processes and forms can be perceived on a regular basis over long periods of time, there was no hewing to a given image, endlessly repeated." He stated that “I find that stagnation in style and the search for the same forms cause an artist to suffer an immense amount of laboriousness in his work. Samant’s art is, instead, determinedly far-reaching and inquisitive, and is inspired by the whole history of human visual creativity. Samant stated straightforwardly that his sources derived from five thousand years of art from varied civilizations. These included the cave paintings of Lascaux, Egyptian wall paintings and hieroglyphs, Indian miniatures and murals, Precolumbian ceramics, African sculpture, and the modernism of Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse, and Paul Klee.Wikipedia

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