Mohan Samant: Modernist Indo-American Painter

A comprehensive 2 volume publication covers at length the artist’s styles and techniques, the themes and subjects of his paintings.  Volume 1 includes crisp, high resolution gallery of paintings along with detailed discussion of key works. Volume 2 contains images from his erotic sketchbooks.  Marcella Sirhandi authored the book with contributions by Mumbai art historian/critic Ranji Hoskote and Jeffrey Weschler, retired curator for the Zimmerli Art Museum.  The set was published by Mapin, Ahmedabad, India in 2013 and is available through Amazon.
Samant was a member of the Progressive Artists’ Group (PAG) in the early years after Indian Independence in 1947 and one of the most experimental of the group.  He graduated from Bombay’s J J School of Art in 1952 and visited the USA on a Rockefeller Scholarship a few years later.  Though modernist in his stylistic approach, Samant’s Indian roots were never suppressed. Since Mumbai (Bombay) offered less opportunity than New York—a city alive with Abstract Expressionism in the 1950s and 60s—Samant made his home there from 1968 until his death in 2004.   Samant’s techniques, imagery, styles and subject matter are so vast as to defy enumeration. He worked with paper cut outs adhered to the surface in a myriad of three-dimensional, multicolored combinations. Themes varied from tourists at the beach to musical evenings.  Samant was an accomplished sarangi player and practiced every morning before attending to his canvases.  His canvases, often favoring Hindu themes,  with cut, sewn and textured surfaces were home to small human and animal figurines often dabbed with red cumcum powder or given wings to oversee the painted action within the frame.  In the 80s he began adding intricately manipulated thin wire figures that danced across the painting.  Samant’s ouevre is one of the undiscovered Indo-American art treasures—that is until now.

Samant, Musical Evening at Home 1979, 28 x 40", mixed media, paper cutouts on textured background: notes from Berens photos of 2009: image from Abrahams disk

Samant: Fisherman and his temple 1981, 40 x 36", oil, sand, folded paper on canvas # 8105

Jillian Samant and friend holding, painting entitled, One of the Darkest Incidents in Roman History

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