DAG Presents India’s French Connection: Indian Artists in France

Visual Arts

DAG is pleased to present India’s French Connection: Indian Artists in France at their New York gallery, Fuller Building Suite 708, from November 13 – March 1, 2019. The exhibition will survey the many Indian artists who lived and worked in Paris from 1920-1980, and explores the influence of French artistic movements on the development of Indian modern and contemporary art. The show will include a vast range of works by more than 20 artists, including paintings, printmaking, video, and sculpture, with an exhibition design by Adrien Gardère.

With its innumerable artists, museums and ateliers, the rise of modernism in France created an unprecedented space that allowed for artists throughout Europe to commune. Lesser known among the west are the Indian artists who have been a vibrant and essential component of the Parisian art community throughout the 20th century. These artists inherited new technical practices while being exposed to radically different philosophies and worldviews from their homeland, while the nostalgic connections from the lives they left behind in India unites them across decades.

The impact of this exchange spans generations and continents: leading modernist S. H. Raza arrived in France in 1950, finally returning to India sixty years later in 2010. During that time, his art practice spanned from the cubist landscapes to impressionism before finally arriving at his signature neo-tantric vision of the bindu inspired by his memories of home. Nirode Mazumdar become an active member of the French intelligentsia from 1957-1967, studying European medieval art alongside Indian fertility cults to develop a distinct and artistic language that belongs to no individual time or place. Later Malini Malani, amidst her academic experience in the aftermath of the 1960s’ social revolution would immerse herself in French cinema, which informed her experimentation with video art.

Artists on view include Sakti Burman, Prodosh Dasgupta, Sunil Das, Rajendra Dhawan, Zarina Hashmi, K. K. Hebbar, Himmat Shah, Amrita Sher-Gil *, Prokash Karmakar, Kanwal Krishna, Ram Kumar, Laxman Pai, Nirode Mazumdar, Anjolie Ela Menon, Nasreen Mohamedi, Sailoz Mukherjea*, V. Nageshkar, Akbar Padamsee, Syed Haider Raza, Krishna Reddy, Jehangir Sabavala, Paritosh Sen and V. Viswanadhan.

*Amrita Sher-Gil and Sailoz Mukherjea are two of nine artists whose works were designated national art treasures by the Indian government during the 1970s. Initially exhibited in Delhi during the India’s French Connection exhibition, their works cannot leave the country and instead will be specially projected within the exhibition.

The private opening of the exhibition on November 13th will feature a keynote speech by Catherine David, Curator and Deputy Director of the Pompidou Museum, on the topic of modern art geographies: transcultural, transnational exchanges in art forms that have nurtured the development of a global modern art. It will be followed by a panel discussion with Amara Antilla, Curator at the Guggenheim, New York moderated by Ashok Adiceam, Senior Vice President-Public Affairs at DAG. On the occasion of the exhibition a fully-illustrated catalogue is published by DAG providing a study of Indian artists and their association with France from 1920-1980, including supplementary images and information not on view in the exhibition is available.


DAG was established as a private art gallery in 1993 in New Delhi. Over the past 25 years, DAG has carved a reputation for the quality of its collection of artworks that represent the expanse of Indian art practices from the seventeenth century onwards. DAG’s extensive collection over the past two decades charts a historic continuum, from the early works of academic artists trained in Bengal and Bombay, to modernists from Baroda, Delhi and beyond. In an effort to take Indian modernism to a wider audience, DAG had opened gallery spaces in the historic Kala Ghoda, Mumbai in 2014, and the iconic Fuller Building in Manhattan, New York in 2015. DAG’s collection includes artworks by some of India’s most celebrated artists, including Raja Ravi Varma, Amrita Sher-Gil, M. F. Husain, S.H. Raza, Tyeb Mehta, F. N. Souza, Ram Kumar, Avinash Chandra and Chittaprosad. DAG also participates in international fairs such as Art Basel Hong Kong, Art Dubai, Art Stage Singapore, India Art Fair and Masterpiece London. The gallery also emphasizes an art educational outreach program to schools, colleges, and corporations throughout India.


David Simantov
Blue Medium Inc
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Akshay Jain
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