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Krishnaji Howlaji Ara (1913 - 1985)

Old Masters

Krishnaji Howlaji Ara was born in 1913, in Bolarum (near Hyderabad), Andhra Pradesh.

Ara's work was rooted in the joy of creativity, focusing on nudes, still life and human figure studies. He was the first contemporary Indian painter to methodically use the female nude as a subject, staying within the limits of naturalism. His work was appreciated, encouraged and supported by the then art critic for the 'Times of India', Rudy von Leyden. Ara had his first solo show in 1942 in the Chetana Restaurant in Mumbai.

His favoured media initially were watercolours and gouaches, which would at times resemble oils in the impasto effect. Later he also worked successfully in oils, where occasionally as in “Woman with Flowers”, the relatively thin pigmentation would remind of his previous preference for the watercolour. He said: "Expression for me does not reside in passions glowing on a human face... Composition is the art of arranging in a decorative manner the diverse elements at the painter's command to express his feelings" often mentioning an urgency for "the honest expression of form".


Born :

  • 1913


Achievments :

  • In 1944, he was awarded the Governor's prize for painting
  • In 1952, he received the Bombay Art Society's Gold Medal for his work 'Two Jugs'
  • He was a founder member of the Progressive Artists' Group and had several shows with the rest of this group
  • He was a member of the managing committee of the Bombay Art Society and served on the selection and judging committees of the Lalit Kala Akademi