Narayan Shridhar Bendre

N.S. Bendre (1910-1992) was born in Indore and was initially trained in the State Art School, Indore, prior to taking the Government Diploma in Art from Bombay in 1933. His initial interests were conditioned by the quasi-modemist landscape painting as practiced in the Indore School at the beginning of the 20th century. An avid traveller, Bendre continued to paint the landscape throughout his career, often with different stylistic means. Early recognition came with the Silver Medal from the Bombay Art Society in 1934, followed by the then ultimate honour of the Gold Medal in 194 1. Part of the year 1945 was spent as artist in residence at Sanfiffiketan, where he met Nandalal Bose, Rain Kinkar Baij and Binode Behari Mukhedee, and in Calcutta, Jamini Roy. Bendre's early work has been classified as being academic and impressionist, dominant subjects being the landscape and the portrait, in oils and gouache.

The year 1947 saw Bendre back in Bombay, in the June of which year he departed for the United States, holding a solo exhibition at the Windermere Gallery, New York, in 1948. On his way back to India, Bendre traveled through Europe, gaining exposure to original works of the modernist masters. An independent nation and an art scene animated by the adventure of the Progressive Artists Group greeted his return in the March of 1948.

In 1950, Bendre moved to Baroda as the first Reader and Head of the Department of Painting at the Faculty of fine Arts. He was to remain there till 1966, becoming Dean of the Faculty in 1959. He was instrumental in laying the foundations of the new programme at the Faculty. It was here that he embarked upon a phase held as his most important, which involved experiments with Cubist, Expressionist and abstract tendencies, producing such works as Thorn (1955, National Award)', Sunflowers, The Parrot and the Chameleon, which give evidence of his shifting allegiances to currents in mainstream European modernism, and his endeavor to marry these with Indian formal and thematic considerations.

Travels continued, within India and internationally: he visited West Asia and London in 1958, the USA and Japan in 1962. The adventure of modernism that Bendre carried from Bombay to B aroda bore fruit in the formation of the Baroda Group of artists in 1956. Along with Bendre, several of the first generation of his students at Baroda were members of the Group, which held regular shows in Bombay, Ahmedabad and Baroda, providing wide exposure to work being produced at the new art school.

After he resigned from Baroda in 1966, Bendre experimented with his version of pointillism and held shows in Bombay every alternate year. He was awarded Padamshri by the President of India in 1969. He was elected to chair the International Jury at the Second Triennale in New Delhi in 1971 an as fellow of the Lalit Kala Academi in 1974. His illustrious carrier was recognized  further with a Retrospective Exhibition at the Lalit kala Academi in 1974, the Aban-Gagan  Award from Viswa Bharati University in 1984, and the Kalidas Samman in 1984.

He continues to pain till he passed away in February 18th 1992.

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N.S.  Bendre
Thorn Prick
Oil on Board
47" x 66"
1955


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N.S.  Bendre
Untitled
Oil on Canvas
36" x 48"
1983

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N.S.  Bendre
Untitled
Oil on Canvas
36" x 48"
1987