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Sadanand Bakre

Indian Modern Artist
Born 1920, Baroda, India
Died 2007, Ratnagiri, Maharashtra, India
Lived and worked in India and UK

One of the founding members of the Bombay Progressive Artists, Sadanand Bakre was extolled for his technical grasp in sculpting, which he developed without having received any formal training in his early years. He is famous for contributing to the concept of independent imagery in Indian art, which was divorced from the traditional style of adhering to realism.



Civil Aviation Flying School, Government of India, Saharanpur


Diploma in Modeling and Stone Carving, Sir J.J School of Art, Mumbai


Sir J. J School of Art, Mumbai

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S. K. Bakre's interest in forms has gone far beyond the dull limitations of subject matter

Artist Sadanand Bakre was quite skilled in terms of technique, spending his early teenage years in a sculpting studio familiarising himself with materials and art works. Leading a poor life gave him the chance to experiment with sculptures since he could not afford materials required to learn painting at the time. But this did not stop him from practicing painting on his own. Through encouragement and support from the staff at Sir J.J. School of Art, Rudi Von Leyden and Wayne Hartwell, Bakre eventually achieved mastery in sculpture.

Sadanand K. Bakre, Thames, 1969, acrylic on canvas, 31 1/2 x 53 1/8”.

Bakre was known for his expert handling of colours

"He does not go wrong with colours....strong, pure tones mix, boldly and easily....there is warmth in every picture" as said in The Times, London, in 1961.

When he moved to London, Bakre fell into tough times and that was one of the primary reasons for his shift from sculpture to painting. He even worked as a ward boy and sold flowers at Berkly Square to meet his expenses. His paintings are vibrant in their color composition. One can safely say that despite not being trained in the basics during his early years, Bakre eventually developed an aesthetic sense worth appreciating. His preoccupation with sculptural techniques comes out in works like 'Way to Cherry Chase, Maryland'. By manipulating paper to give it a 3D model-like structure, the painting itself seems to grow out of the wall and acquire a definite shape, just as in a sculpture.

Apart from sculptures Bakre also developed the concept of independent imagery in Indian art. His contributions built the foundations for contemporary art. Although he was trained in the traditional style, the unrest to find a personal language led to the flowering of an independent imagination. He, along with his fellow-painters of the Progressive Artists Group, used innovative methods to bring a breakthrough in the old realistic style, which was prevalent for nearly a century. The core of Bakre's art practice was to seek freedom from the restrictions of set styles and traditions of realism. Therefore, he critically reviewed his own work, keeping in mind the global trends, patterns and parameters. This intense, scrutiny and criticism of his own work helped the artist to constantly evolve, and gain global recognition.

Sadanand K. Bakre, Pollution, oil on canvas, 47 11/16 x 35 15/16".

Sadanand K. Bakre,Way to Cherry Chase, Maryland, Late 1960, oil on paper laid on canvas.

Independent imagery

Sadanand K. Bakre,Untitled, oil on canvas, 38 1/2 x 30 3/8".

Art for Art's Sake was a life philosophy for Bakre

Son-et-Lumiere Art Gallery described the association with the artist as "....forged ahead fearlessly with total freedom from the restrictions of set styles and traditions of realism". His return from London resulted in him keeping a low profile. Meeting people was a higher priority, he believed and he stayed firm in his principals. When a german collector wished to buy some of his old works, he quoted "I never painted for money, but for the love of it".

Sadanand K. Bakre, Untitled(Landscape), 1960, oil on masonite board, 23 7/8 x 23 7/8".

Modern Metal shaped by emotion and experience was Bakre's niche

In the beginning, Bakre’s artworks veered towards modernism. Gradually he created his own language and produced works which were refined, accurate and aesthetically appealing from all angles. It seems his works carved a path for him in his career. His journey and the works he created are based on his emotional experiences. Being one of the founder members of the Bombay Progressive Artists, he never achieved commercial success the way co-founders - ( Hussain, Gade, Ara, Raza and Souza) achieved. But the group acted as a catalyst for projecting his talent and allowed him to earn enough money to travel to England. He had four solo exhibitions at the Tradwell Gallery between 1969-1975. Amongst the busts that he sculpted are those of the critic Rudi von Leyden, Sir Cowasji Jehangir, founder of the Jehangir Art Gallery, and one of K.H Ara.

Sadanand K. Bakre, Untitled, metal, 40 3/16 x 61 x 4 1/2".