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Narayan Shridhar Bendre
Narayan Shridhar Bendre

(1910-08-21)21 August 1910
Died19 February 1992(1992-02-19) (aged 81)
AwardsPadma Bhushan (1992)
Padma Shri (1969)

Narayan Shridhar Bendre (21 August 1910 – 19 February 1992) was a 20th-century Indian artist and one of the founder members of Baroda Group[1][2][3] Narayan Shridhar Bendre was born in Indore. He made a name for himself as a landscape artist. In 1992 he was awarded the Padma Bhushan.[4]

Life and career

Narayan Shridhar Bendre was born in a Deshastha Rigvedi Brahmin family on 21 August 1910 in Indore, Madhya Pradesh.[5] He was initially trained in the State Art School there prior to taking the Government Diploma in Art from Bombay in 1933. His initial interests were conditioned by the quasi-modernist landscape painting as practised in the Indore School at the beginning of the 20th century. An avid traveller, Bendre continued to paint the landscape throughout his career, often with different stylistic means. Early recognition came with the Silver Medal from the Bombay Art Society in 1934, followed by the then ultimate honour of the gold medal in 1941. Part of 1945 was spent as artist-in-residence at Santiniketan, where he met Nandalal Bose, Ramkinkar Baij and Binode Behari Mukherjee. He also met Jamini Roy in Calcutta. Bendre's early work has been classified as being academic and impressionist, dominant subjects being the landscape and the portrait, in oils and gouache.

Bendre was back in Bombay in 1947, from where he left in June for the United States, holding a solo exhibition at the Windermere Gallery, New York, in 1948. On his way back to India, he travelled through Europe, gaining exposure to original works of the modernist masters. An independent nation and an art scene animated by the adventure of the Progressive Artists Group greeted his return in March 1948.

In 1950, Bendre moved to Baroda as the first Reader and Head of the Department of Painting at the Faculty of Fine Arts. He remained there until 1966, becoming Dean of the Faculty in 1959. He helped lay the foundations of the new program at the Faculty of Fine Arts. It was here that he embarked upon a phase held as his most important, which involved experiments with Cubist, Expressionist and abstract tendencies, producing such works as Thorn (1955, National Award)', Sunflowers, The Parrot and the Chameleon, which give evidence of his shifting allegiances to currents in mainstream European modernism, and his attempts to marry these with Indian formal and thematic considerations.

Travels continued, within India and internationally: he visited West Asia and London in 1958, the US and Japan in 1962. The adventure of modernism that Bendre carried from Bombay to Baroda bore fruit in the formation of the Baroda Group of artists in 1956. Along with Bendre, several of the first generation of his students at Baroda were members of the Group, which held regular shows in Bombay, Ahmedabad and Baroda, providing wide exposure to work being produced at the new art school.

After he resigned from Baroda in 1966, Bendre experimented with his version of pointillism and held shows in Bombay every alternate year. He was awarded the Padma Shri in 1969. He was elected to chair the International Jury at the Second Triennale in New Delhi in 1971 and as fellow of the Lalit Kala Academy in 1974. His career was recognised further with a retrospective exhibition at the Lalit kala Academy in 1974, the Aban-Gagan Award from Vishwa Bharati University in 1984, and the Kalidas Samman in 1984.

He continued to paint until his death on 18 February 1992.

Awards and honours

In 1955, Bendre received the National Award from the Lalit Kala Akademi for his work, Thorn. In 1969, he received the Padma Shri[6] award and in 1992, he received the Padma Bhushan award.[7] In 1974, he received the fellowship of the Lalit Kala Academy. In 1984, the Visva Bharati University conferred him the Aban-Gagan Award and Madhya Pradesh state government conferred him the Kalidas Samman (1986–87).


Bendre is well known for being a landscapist, and for his usage of colors. He was immensely influenced by miniature painting. The influence of pointillism painting and a combination of Georges Pierre Seurat & Paul Gauguin can be seen in his work. He visited the United States, England, France and Belgium in 1947–48. It was during the visit that he studied and imbibed modern art. Assimilating this western influence he created a niche for himself in the field of art by innovating a style all his own. He carried out experiments depicting subtle themes ranging from everyday life to the abstract. He never believed in restricting his imagination to the framework of color, line or form.

Notable works

Hairdo (1949), "The Sunflower" (1955), "Monkey" (1957), "The Cow and the Calf" (1948), "The Female Cowherd" (1956), "Homebound", "The Bullock Cart" and "Gossip"


Students of his included Balkrishna Patel, Ghulam Rasool Santosh, Gulam Mohammed Sheikh, Haku Shah, Jayant Parikh, Jyoti Bhatt, Kamudben Patel, Naina Dalal, Shri Ranjitsinh Pratapsinh Gaekwad, Ratan Parimoo, Shanti Dave, Triloke Kaul.[8][9]

See also


  1. ^ "His name is listed as Baroda Group of Artists' fifth annual exhibition of paintings by". Asia Art Archive.
  2. ^ "Baroda Group and his name were is listed in contemporary art movements in India".
  3. ^ "Baroda Group and his name were listed by".
  4. ^ "Narayan Shridhar Bendre". Retrieved 4 January 2024.
  5. ^ Ram Chatterjee (1990). Bendré: The Painter and the Person. Bendré Foundation for Art and Culture & Indus Corporation. p. 4. Nana, as he was known to close friends and family members, was born on 21 August 1910, in a Deshastha Brahmin (Rigvedi) family, whose family deity is Narasimha.
  6. ^ "N S Bendre". Saffronart. Retrieved 4 January 2024.
  7. ^ "Padma Awards" (PDF). Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India. 2015. Retrieved 21 July 2015.
  8. ^ "Additional reference on the Contemporary Art website".
  9. ^ "Baroda Group and some member names are listed by".