Progressive Artist Group

Progressive Artist Group: Indian Artist Groups

This article is about Indian groups like Progressive Artist Group, Delhi Shilpi chakra, and others. We will start with the earliest art groups to the modern ones of Modern Indian Art History.

By the way, this topic is not so long when and which group was formed and who made it. But the circumstances of those times and their formation in those circumstances are more important. Let us begin to discuss these groups in chronological order:

  • Background
  • Calcutta Group
  • Progressive Artists Group
  • Artisan cycle
  • Group 1980
  • Group 8


Indian art moved forward towards independent India with the art of company school and of Raja Ravi Varma. It faced many different movements and changes from the time of the British to the time of independence.

After the company school and the art of Raja Ravi Varma, Avanindra Nath Thakur took it in a new direction through Bengal School. India got freedom. So Indian Art was also on its way toward reconstruction.

In this development of art, artists like Yamini Rai and Amrita Shergill gave variety to Indian art. Therefore, a very favorable atmosphere was now ready for new experiments. We see this experiment in the form of these art groups.

(If you have not yet read about Company School, Raja Ravi Verma, and Bengal School, you can watch my videos. I have made videos on these subjects. You must watch these videos)

Calcutta Group

  • The first art group in India and Bengal is the Calcutta Group, formed in 1943.
  • This group remained for a short time. In 1953 the group was closed down.
  • It was a reaction to the political conditions, the Second World War, and the then conditions.
  • The sculptor Pradosh Das Gupta formed this group.
  • This group can also be called a demand for contemporary modernism against traditional art.
  • The group demanded that art should be ‘International and Independent.
  • The group also held an exhibition in Bombay jointly with the Progressive Artists. This exhibition was held in the year 1950.

Progressive Artists Group (PAG)

  • In 1948, some artists formed the Progressive Artists Group (PAG) in Bombay.
  • Once Krishna Hawala Ji Ara, an artist from Bombay, took a big canvas to the Bombay Art Society. Society rejected his painting.
  • This made Ara very angry. Immediately he went to Souza. Raza was also present there.
  • Together they formed the Progressive Artists Group (PEG). Later on, to make this group more active, the artists like Hussain, Gade, and Bakre was also included in the group.
  • A pharmaceutical company in Bombay sponsored this group.
  • Its first meeting was held in Gurgaon. The first exhibition was held on 7 July 1949 and was inaugurated by Mulk Raj Anand.
  • Its second exhibition was held in 1950 with the Calcutta Group in Bombay.
  • The group was active for 10 years.

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Delhi Shilpi Chakra

With the establishment of the Shilpi Chakra in 1949, new art experiments were started in the capital of India. In many ways, it was an important group. This group contributed in terms of the development and expansion of art in the country.

Birth of the Shilpi Chakra

Infect, Bhavesh Chandra Sanyal formed the Shilpi Chakra on 25 March 1949. Earlier, before the formation of this group, there were some circumstances. These circumstances led to the formation of this group.

The country faced partition at the time of independence. Due to this partition, some artists came to Delhi from Lahore. These artists became members of the All India Fine Arts and Craft Society. Kaval Krishna, K. S. Kulkarni, and Pran Nath Mangon were dissatisfied with society. So, they resigned from society. Consequently, they formed the Shilpi Chakra on 25 March 1949.

Other members of Shilpi Chakra

Dhanraj Bhagat, Satish Gujral, Ram Kumar, Devyani Krishna Damayanti, Jaya Appa Swamy, Braj Mohan Dhanot, Jagmohan Chaupada, Anupam Sood, etc.

Major achievements or Experiments:

  • For the first time in India, the artists of Shilpi Chakra started the marketing of art. This was useful for the art. Especially it was awesome for artists from a financial point of view.
  • The group held art exhibitions at other places outside the traditional gallery.
  • These artists did some experiments to promote contemporary art from 1949 to 1950. They held art exhibitions in the local areas of Chandni Chok, Karol Bagh, and the university campus.
  • They got a great response from the people towards these exhibitions. Many doctors, lawyers & actors bought paintings from this exhibition.
  • Shilpi Chakra also started the tradition of inviting a non-member artist to its annual exhibition.
  • However, the influence of this group continued until 1960.

Group 1890

J. Swamy Nathan formed Group 1890 in 1963. The General Secretary of this group was Jairam Patel.

The group organized its first exhibition on 20-29 October 1963 at Lalit Kala Academy Ravindra Bhavan. Particularly, the then Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru inaugurated the exhibition. This group has a group of 12 artists who belong to Bombay and Delhi.

How this group got its name

The meeting of this group was held in Bhavnagar on 25-26 August 1962. The declaration of this group was prepared in this long meeting. The group held the meeting in the house of J. Pandya.  The house number of this house was 1890. Therefore, this group member named this group after this house no 1890.

Artists of this group

  • Raghav Kaneria,
  • M. Reddeppa Naidu,
  • Ambadas Khobragade,
  • Rajesh Mahara,
  • Ghulam Mohammad Shaikh,
  • Jagdish Swaminathan,
  • Himmat Shah,
  • Jeram Patel,
  • SG Nikam,
  • Eric Hubert Bowen
  • Jyoti Bhatt
  • Balakrishna Patel


Group 8 was a group of printmaking artists. Jagmohan Chaupara formed this group in 1968. For the first time, Jagmohan Chopra formed a group for printmaking artists in India.

Through this group, Jagmohan Chopra linked together with the active printmaking artists of the time. The country faced two wars at that time. Consequently, the availability of art material was less. However, Jagmohan Chopra designed and built a printmaking machine by himself. He installed this machine in his house. In this way, he made it available to the artists of the group.

Other artists in this group were Jagdish Dey, Umesh Verma, Prashant Vichitra, Lakshmi Dutt, Yog Shakti Surinder Chopra and Anupam Sood

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