6 Books For The Art Lover’s Library | Verve Magazine
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July 13, 2016

6 Books For The Art Lover’s Library

Text by Alpana Chowdhury, Huzan Tata and Amishi Parekh

From lives of geniuses to colouring books… these are the must-buys this month

Vasudev Santu Gaitonde — Sonata Of Solitude
Meera Menezes
Bodhana Arts And Research Foundation/The Raza Foundation

‘When I don’t paint, I am not a painter, I am just an ordinary human being.’ These are the words that greet you as you open this fascinating tome on one of India’s modern masters. V. S. Gaitonde’s life — from growing up in the small lanes of Nagpur to his works adorning the walls of the finest collectors in the country — was a remarkable journey, which has been captured in the pages of this book. The first in a series of three titles, Sonata of Solitude presents to readers the story of the man behind the canvases. And don’t miss the collection of photographs of the connoisseur at his candid best.

Ebrahim Alkazi: Directing Art — The Making Of A Modern Indian Art World
Edited By Parul Dave-Mukherji
Mapin Publishing/Art Heritage

Undeniably one of the greatest artistic minds of India, Ebrahim Alkazi was a man of many talents. Tracing his contribution to modern art and his love for theatre, this coffee-table book offers quite an engaging read. Including 400 unpublished paintings by various artists and a thoughtful essay by Alkazi’s daughter Amal Allana, it delights with the turn of every page. An interview of the genius by Yashodhara Dalmia, full-page colour images of works by artists ranging from F. N. Souza to Bharti Kher, and an interaction with Alkazi’s friend and pioneer of modern art K. G. Subramanyan — the book is a collector’s item for art aficionados.

Finding My Way
Venkat Raman Singh Shyam/S. Anand
Juggernaut Books

How does a modest rickshaw puller from New Delhi become an internationally renowned indigenous artist? Telling his story through attractive visuals and alluring verses, Gond artist Singh Shyam will take you back to your childhood with this lovely pictorial memoir. His striking drawings are accompanied by text from publisher-poet Anand, who weaves his own charm into the narrative. This autobiography is sure to stay in the readers’ minds long after they’ve finished it. ‘One cannot just read this book, it asks to be dreamt,’ says artist Shuddhabrata Sengupta, about the creative collaboration. Simple and delightful, you’ll want more of this absolute dream.

The Mystical World — Kahlil Gibran’s The Prophet
Illustrations By Sujaya Batra
Aleph Book Company

Batra’s book comprises complex drawings to illustrate deep, philosophical thoughts from Khalil Gibran’s The Prophet. Fruit, flowers, birds, animals — sometimes exotic, sometimes vicious — are intricately interwoven with human symbols to convey the complexity of the author’s thoughts. Those who find meditation difficult and chanting monotonous could perhaps dig out their old crayons…the process of deciphering the eternal truths of Gibran’s sayings and then pondering over appropriate colours to fill in Batra’s drawings with, could be very therapeutic indeed.

The Artful Life Of R. Vijay
Annapurna Garimella
Serindia Contemporary

R. Vijay, a painter trained in the Rajput miniature style, has been collaborating with Waswo X. Waswo, an American photographer living in Udaipur for the last decade. The book recounts the individual journeys of both artists, leading to the development of their shared aesthetic. ‘There are glimpses of Western thoughts in many paintings, there are many Indian concepts, and there are glimpses and the impact of mixed ideas,’ explains R. Vijay. Together, the duo has produced an impressive body of work that reinvents the miniature form, taking it from the tourist bazaars of Rajasthan to art lovers around the world.

Bagh-E-Bahar — A Mughal Garden
Penguin Books India/Good Earth

This colouring book for adults is a meditative stroll through ‘a garden in bloom’. The delicacy of Mughal miniatures is brought to life, along with a beautiful melange of Persian, Central Asian and local Indian styles. Besides the exquisite illustrations, the book is peppered with quotes from 13th-century Persian poet and scholar Rumi, to set the mood. Grab some colour pencils and prepare to lose yourself in the mystical charm of the book’s intricate designs.

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